I am a summer girl. Hot is good. Cold is bad. Long live the good times of summer!
As I read about that proverbial ant in Proverbs today, I thought about (gulp) …Fall. The Bible says the ant plans in the warm summer for the harvest time. (Prov. 6:8) We are told to consider the habits ants have. The ant simply prepares to be ahead of the game when fall rolls around, and my feet get cold again.
So what are you thinking through NOW over summer to help in the fall as you endeavor to be most effective to kids and families? Status quo, no matter what you have done just won’t fly for long. Switch it up. Add new. It can be remarkably uncomfortable being in uncharted territory. But when you consider the times in the past you “stepped out there” look how God showed up!
How about some BIG asks for volunteers? Now is when (like the ant) you prepare. Step up the game and ask your volunteers to commit to a FULL month each time (same people/same virtues) to serve as a small group leader. How about the entire fall or spring season? Big asks from your volunteers yield reward IN your ministry area to the kids. Whatever the next step is: do the BIG ask! Don’t go into another fall season apologetically asking for help. Dispel the notion that someone is needed to fill a spot spot VS partner with you to make a difference! There is a difference in the two! One looks like an obligation on the calendar, the other is a ministry opportunity.
Ministry leaders I speak with know that a change needs to take place. We all need to make changes. Keep in mind people navigate change in different ways. The vision casting of what the end will look like will help those who are reluctant. Keep casting vision.
Start planning for a beautiful ORANGE colored fall. As ministry leaders we can be like that Proverbs ant. Consider the Fall now while its summer by reading Reggie Joiner’s book THINK ORANGE. You may just need to begin and find out about this ORANGE coloring of ministry to kids and families.
Orange is uniting home (red the heart) and church (yellow=the Light). These are two huge influences! Combining ministry programming around that red and yellow will make greater impact equals ORANGE! But be warned… it will mess with you. I think its the BEST plan in the long term fight for the family! And I’ve been in the trenches of “ant work” for many years. Plan while its summer!
Consider the ant my friend.
I know. You already you have an image in your head when you see the word cheerleader,right? Pom poms, pleated skirt, pigtails and ribbons. Maybe even the SNL cheerleaders come to your mind. But just for a moment, lets block out the stereotypical rah rah. Think more like “leader of cheering” if that helps…
The dictionary defines the word cheer a : something that gladdens: a shout of applause or encouragement. I believe God is all over that! He rejoices over us. He lifts our head. He brings encouragement. That’s my kind of cheer leading for the challenging game of life.
As a leader, you need to be the biggest cheerleader for your volunteers. Notice things. Encourage people as you see their gifts in action. Funny, but sometimes we don’t recognize that we are gifted in an area until someone else notices. Cheer for volunteers and affirm their gifts. What does cheering for them do? It helps your team members to realize the difference they can make. Cheering for your team is making time for celebration. Let others know about your team and how they sacrifice to be faithful to minister to kids. Hooray for what God is doing through ordinary people like us. Celebrate partnering with God and the gifts in people. What will happen? More people will be attracted to join the team. As a leader you must be the biggest fan of your team and shout it out loud often!
I have heard SO many great stories from people who do ministry both as a volunteer and paid staff who lead kids. These are not your average bear leaders. No- this is a new breed of clever! One who is focused on a mission of re-activating the family in their church and community. They are change agents. They are doing all they can to lift that bushel and let the Light of Christ shine.
These leaders are making compelling vision casts to their pastors. They are evaluating multi-programmed services that send multiple messages, (what Pastor does this for the adult congregation on a weekend?!) They are seeing the value in teaching less is more! These leaders are CLEVER at figuring out you can leverage influence when you send the same message each time you meet with purpose. There are clever leaders engaging parents AND kids at the same time in a service designed to be shared for those IN and OUT of the church. Yep, they are clever like that! These great people are going above and beyond the committee and task force days of old to cast a compelling vision to those they report to with passion.
Jesus gave high priority to kids- and said don’t you hinder them. Clever. Make your mission crystal clear each time you get the opportunity to have kids come to your ministry area. Be clever like that and don’t you dare shrink back!
I have a Beatles hit playing in my head today…”Come Together.”
My prayer for all who experienced the Orange Conference last week is a that there is lots of “coming together” happening in churches. I pray that leaders never go back to “corners” of ministry, rather they unite to form a circle of influence that is ORANGE in the local church. No islands. No silo’s. We know too much. We’ve seen what division can do.
There’s a new day of collaborating with lead pastors, student ministry and kid leaders. They must collide for maximum impact. It won’t happen over night. But just think about the baby steps being taken this very day. I am smiling as I think about it. The Gospel is too precious- to glorious to shrink back and do mediocre ministry to kids and families.
Churches are purposing to:
- Integrate strategy
- Refine the Message
- Reactivate the family
- Elevate Community
- Leverage Influence.
It’s like removing the bushel so the light can shine! A beaming light to point all to the Savior. What are you doing to take those steps today???
Don’t forget to check out www.orangeleaders.com and www.whatisorange.org
So, you are ready for a road trip to the ORANGE Conference 2010. Got your reservation? Got your breakouts? Got your comfy shoes? There is one thing I highly recommend you bring. Bring your expectations! Plan now for what you want to come away with. As you travel together- whether by plane, train, automobile or giant church van- – TALK. You are about to experience something together. You will get to know your team. You will laugh till your sides hurt. You will worship and fellowship with churches from all over the globe. How cool is that?
What do you want to walk away with ? Pinpoint with your team as you travel what some goals are. Gather all the info you can. PLAN for great things to happen within you and your team!
And after a long day at a conference I recommend you meet and recap. Have each team member share highlights of their takeaways from the day. Talk about all of them. Pray together. Laugh some more. And make a note about people you meet. Pray for them. Connect with them. The power of networking has never been so strong as today! Remember iron sharpens iron! And on the road home? Yep, recall it. Process information and filter through what God is calling your team to do in your local church.
Can you imagine the possibility for impact on kids/parents/volunteers/churches/leaders? Shout “road trip” and “amen” somebody!
Can’t BE at Orange> You can still join in on a live webcast starting Wednesday night at 7:15pm www.makingoforange.com and throughout the conference. You ARE part of the team. Click on BACKSTAGE.