Book Review: “How To Enjoy Reading Your Bible”

Keith Ferrin

I didn’t always enjoy reading the Bible.  I know – it’s really BAD for a pastor to admit this.  Just to clarify, it’s not that I disliked the Bible.  It’s just that I saw it as more of something I NEEDED to do rather than something I WANTED to do.

We’ve all been there.  Our Western mindset causes us to make reading the Bible something to be achieved and knocked off the list.  We make a grand goal of “reading the Bible through in a year,” but barely get through the book of Numbers before we abandon that and skip to Proverbs.  We look at the best-selling book of all time and treat it like an owner’s manual rather than a treasure map (which it  most definitely is).

My good friend, Keith Ferrin, is one of the most passionate people I have ever met about the Bible!  He just released a brand new book this week titled “How To Enjoy Reading The Bible.”  It’s an incredible read and VERY practical.  Keith’s goal is simple:  “To help you ENJOY the Bible.  If you enjoy it, you will read it more.  If you enjoy it, you will talk about it.  If you enjoy it, you will be more consistent in your time with God.  If you enjoy it, you will apply it!”

You will LOVE this book.  It will cause you to fall in love with an even BETTER book – The Bible!

Here’s the cool thing – Keith is so convinced you will love this book he is giving away a TON of FREE stuff if you purchase it this week!  All you have to do is visit Keith’s blog HERE to find out how you can get 8 FREE gifts just for purchasing the book this week.  I highly recommend this book!  It will revolutionize your Bible reading!

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A Great Way To Get Your Kids Leading Adults In Worship

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This past Sunday we had our annual “Kids In Worship” experience.  I thought it would be good to share the concept behind this for all of you.  It is an amazing opportunity for the whole family.

“Kids In Worship” is an evening of worship, led by our Preschool and Elementary Kids Departments.  The children are in charge of the entire adult service in the Sanctuary.  It is an evening of worship, led by the kids.  The entire family comes together for a night of singing and worship.

We rehearse for months prior to this night.  Rehearsals are on Sunday afternoons from 4:30 – 5:30 prior to our Evening Worship Service.  The kids put together a set of familiar modern worship songs (to allow the adults to enter in) mixed with some new and original songs.  Several children memorize some of their favorite passages of scripture and share them with the congregation between songs.

There is always a time where a group of our oldest children step off the stage and allow the adults to come forward for prayer.  These kids pray earnestly for the needs of the adults.  We have seen people saved, healed and delivered on these nights.  It’s amazing!

It’s one of my Lead Pastor’s favorite services of the year.  There is something incredible about a group of kids who are passionate in worship of their God.  It is inspiring to all of us!  Why not try your own version of “Kids In Worship?”

Have you ever tried something like this?  SHARE IT WITH US in the Comments Section of this post!  If you have questions, ask them using the comment section.  I read each of them and will respond.

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Are You Teaching Your Kids A False Gospel?

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I am at Awana’s “Vantage Conference” and had the privilege of listening to a legend of Children’s Ministry, Phil Vischer (creator of Veggie Tales and What’s In The Bible?).  Phil told a story that gripped my heart.

Ted Turner (media mogul and founder of CNN & TBS) is an outspoken critic of Christianity.  Most people know this.  In 1990, speaking before the American Humanist Association, Turner proclaimed that “Christianity is for losers”…and this isn’t nearly the most provocative thing he has said about Christians.  Many know this about Turner, but not many know the story behind his anti-religous sentiment.

Ted Turner dreamed of being a missionary when he was a child.  His sister suffered from Lupus. When she died, it shook his faith profoundly. He couldn’t understand why a loving God would allow an innocent person to suffer. “What had she done wrong? Why did this happen to her? Christianity didn’t give me any answers to that.”

Ted Turner had been taught a simple form of the Gospel that many of us have been guilty of teaching our kids.  “We serve a gentle, loving God. If we act right and do what pleases Him, He will take care of us and prevent us from suffering.”  That is it.  End of story.  But, that’s NOT the real Gospel.

Phil Vischer spoke to each of us plainly and directly.  He said that we have to ask ourselves the same question he had to ask HIMSELF after ten years of making Veggie Tales.  “Did I just spend ten years trying to persuade kids to behave “Christian-ly” without teaching the kids Christianity?”

Phil walked through the three things that we SHOULD be doing a better job with our children:

  • Understanding the Story they are in
  • Understanding the Bad News of that Story
  • Understanding the Good News of that Story

Phil understands that the large concepts of sin, redemption, sanctification, and judgement are difficult to explain to children.  But, kids understand STORY.  “Narrative structure is what we build to find meaning to the events of our lives. Kids instinctively ‘connect the dots’ in their lives.”  So, he came up with an overarching narrative to help explain kids the story of Christianity…

The Story They Are In:  THE BROKEN AMUSEMENT PARK

The world is a broken amusement park.  God created this amazing world with all of its wonders.  He created it to be a wonderful place of enjoyment for mankind and all of the creatures.  It’s a giant amusement park.  Now, modern amusement parks are run by computers.  The computers tell the rides what to do, the lights when to come on and go off, etc.

Imagine a virus in the operating system of the computers that run all of the rides and attractions. It now isn’t functioning as it was intended to function.  The “Dumbo ride” dumps kids on the ground, the lights go off in the middle of a show.  The virus is wreaking havoc on the systems of the amusement park.  Sin is the virus. It has infected ALL of us.  It has infected the world itself – and the world is SICK.

The Bible is the story of why the world is the way it is and what God is doing to fix it.  Our role is – “We are the Red Cross. We are the ones who can explain why things are the way we are.”  When someone gets dumped out of the Dumbo ride, we should be the first ones there to help them, explain to them WHY, and help point them in the right direction.  This is a story that kids can relate to – and helps them understand the overarching story they are in.

The Bad News Of That Story:

Sin is hard to explain.  But, that doesn’t mean we ignore that part of the story.  It is CRUCIAL.  If kids don’t understand what Sin is, they will NEVER understand who Jesus is or why He came.

Now, Phil isn’t suggesting that we walk into the 3 year old class and proclaim the dangers of SIN.  The topic of sin and judgement is not EVERY age appropriate.  Before they hear about a God that is a judge who is angry and wrathful, kids need to hear about a God who is loving and forgiving.

That’s why Phil makes sin visual.  It’s a virus.  Adam and Eve can’t be with God because SIN can’t be with God.  Suddenly, the world is not perfect anymore. Thus, the BROKEN amusement park.

We can’t shy away from the BAD NEWS.  Until you understand the problem, none of the rest of the Bible makes any sense!!!

The Good News Of That Story:

God doesn’t want to leave us like this.  He wants to save us. He wants to save us from:

  • The STAIN of sinkeeps us from God (God wants to clean us)
  • The POWER of sinkeeps us doing the same thing over and over again (the more we listen to the whispers, the louder it gets) this is remedied by Sanctification
  • The PRESENCE of sinwe still live in a world that is drowning in sin.  The effects of sin on our world is seen every day.  (when God returns to JUDGE the world, He will rescue us from this with a New Heaven and New Earth)  

“Judgment” has become a bad word in our culture. It represents “looking down on people.”  In truth, Judgement means “setting things right!” If there is a bully picking on a small child, it is right for an adult to step in and say, “NO, you are NOT going to do that!”

Judgement is when God steps in and sets everything right.  He fixes everything.  Makes the bullies pay for everything they have done wrong.

Why did Jesus need to die?  Because we have ALL been bullies at one point or another.  We have ALL done mean things and broken God’s laws.  God didn’t want us to have to pay for our sin, so He became human like us and paid the price for our sin.  That’s what God has done for us.

Finally, Phil challenged us all to teach our kids:  “Once we are saved, what is NEXT?”  What is NEXT for us is NEW LIFE!  We become a part of the Kingdom of God.  We live supernatural lives through the power of the Holy Spirit, revealing God through US!

The Apostle Paul described the Christian life as, “We proclaim good news, we live good lives, we do good works!”

  • Proclaim good newssharing the WHOLE story of the Gospel
  • Live good liveslives marked by the absence of fear, full of peace and love
  • Do good workswe help, we love, we are the Red Cross in a broken world

We aren’t just sitting around waiting on Heaven…we become superheroes –  helping others to experience God’s best for their lives.

Teaching this to our kids is done best by SHOWING them with your own life. They will learn much more of what we show than what we say. We need to be the example that they can follow.

So, are you teaching your kids the WHOLE Gospel?  Or are you teaching them a rosey, pristine, in-a-nice-little-box gospel that is not preparing them to become the Christians God has intended them to be?

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Parents Allow Four Year Old Girl To Become A Boy

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Meet “Jacob.”  Born as a beautiful baby girl named Mia, “Jacob” began expressing the desire to be a boy.  Mia didn’t like dressing like a girl or being called a girl.  So, after a period of painful, thoughtful deliberation, Mia’s parents decided to help her transition to a boy.  My heart breaks for the family, as I am certain this decision was very difficult for them.  You can watch a video of their entire story HERE.

Transgender children are becoming more and more common.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject, but I do want to ask a few questions to probe conversation.  Aside from the obvious moral and Biblical questions that this presents…

*  Do four year olds have the maturity, cognitive ability, or perspective to be allowed to make life-altering decisions like this?

*  Should parents follow the lead of the child in ALL instances (especially where the child’s preferences or desires would lead to a life-altering decision)?

*  What should a Christian parent’s response be when their child is unhappy with their body, their personality, or their identity?

*  What kind of messages should a child who is struggling with their self-image or identity be hearing from their parents and grandparents?

Your child’s self-image is being formed from the day he or she is born.  The messages you send matter!  Children’s self-esteem is shaped by the significant people in their lives.  Parents, of course, play the most important role because they have countless opportunities to steer the development of the self-esteem of a child or teenager in a positive direction.  But don’t overlook the impact a grandparent, uncle, or aunt can have in speaking powerful messages of encouragement, hope, and value into your child.

When your child begins to doubt who they are and begin to ask questions like, “Did God mess up?” or to quote “Jacob” from this video, “Why did God make me this way?  Is God stupid?”  Here are some messages that they should hear LOUD AND CLEAR from the most important people in their lives:

1)  “God designed you!”

No matter the reasons for a child’s birth, he or she is never a mistake or a “cosmic accident.” God told Jeremiah (and us): “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” (Jer. 1:5). King David wrote:

 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. (Ps. 139:13–15)

2)  “You’re God’s masterpiece.”

God doesn’t make junk!  He beautifully and specifically crafts each person.  In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explained, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Eph. 2:10).

Like an artist who paints a beautiful portrait or landscape, God took His time to craft every part of us: eyes, nose, personality, gifts, and talents.  God designed each of us individually and specifically.

You and your children are God’s masterpieces. When we learn to see ourselves from His perspective, we will see how wonderful we really are. And when we believe this truth about ourselves, we will impart it to our children.

3)  “God paid a high price for you!”

Some kids see themselves as disposable, valueless, and not worth anyone’s time and attention.  How is the value of anything or anyone determined?  By the price another is willing to pay for it.  A baseball card is just a small piece of cardboard, but a 1909 Honus Wagner card recently sold for $2.8 million!  The person who bought it believed it was quite valuable, but many moms throw out their kids’ baseball cards because they think they’re just clutter!

What’s the value of a person? God put a price tag on human beings when He sent His Son to pay the ultimate price for us. Jesus died in our place, paid the debt we couldn’t pay, and ransomed us from sin and hell to be adopted into God’s family!  In a letter to the Corinthians, Paul explained, “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price” (1 Cor. 6:19–20).  God was willing to pay a high price for us because He considers us and our children supremely valuable.  We’re worth more to Him than the stars in the sky!  Our kids need to hear this message.  So do we.

4)  “God cares about the details of your life!”

God didn’t spin the universe into being and then leave us on our own.  He’s intimately involved in everything we do.  God is omnipresent, which means He’s with us (and with every atom in the universe) at every moment.  And God is omniscient, which means He knows everything about . . . well . . . everything.

Jesus once told His followers, “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows” (Matt. 10:29–31).  You mean so much to God that He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head.  When one falls out, He changes the number.  Isn’t that amazing?

If you want to help your children develop a healthy, positive self-image and identity, teach them to view themselves the way that God, their Master-Designer, sees them.  They are His Masterpiece.  He created them, and He cares about every detail of their lives.


***These principles are taken from a chapter on Self-Image in my upcoming book, “Talk Now And Later:  How To Lead Kids Through Life’s Tough Topics” (coming September 1st)***
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FREE Family Ministry Conference? Yep, It’s True!

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FREE stuff is great!  Everybody loves FREE!  Free coffee, free candy, free toenail clippers with your neighbor’s company logo on it – you don’t care…because it’s FREE!  We love FREE!

Every once in a while, something comes along that is FREE, but is also something you would be willing to pay for…and pay a LOT!  That something – is the D6 Days Family Conference!

It’s a new online event that you don’t want to miss out on.  Rally up your team and inspire them with over 23 sessions from some of the best speakers in the world.  This is perfect for Children’s workers, youth workers, youth pastors, volunteers in ministry, pastors, etc.  

Watch the video below to prepare yourself for the upcoming awesomeness!

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As you know, partnering with parents is one of the most important things you can do as a Children’s Ministry Leader.  This FREE online conference from D6 will help you do that. 

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Inspiring Movie – “Where Hope Grows”

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Not too long ago, I had the privilege of being given a private screening of an upcoming faith-based movie, “Where Hope Grows.”  My wife, Cherith, and I were very moved and very impressed.  I will admit to being a “Christian Movie” skeptic.  I have been burned so many times by movies that were written and produced by Christian companies.  You know what I am talking about – cheesy plot lines, cheesier acting, low-budget production, and over-the-top religious themes that are meant to please a Christian-Only audience.  Well, “Where Hope Grows” is NOT that kind of movie.

The movie centers around a washed-up alcoholic named Cal.  Although he had a stint as a Major League Baseball pitcher, Cal’s alcoholism has all but destroyed his life and relationships.  Through the turmoil of Cal’s relationship with his daughter, the audience sees the destructive power of alcohol upon everything the addict holds dear.  It is through an unlikely friendship with a boy nicknamed “Produce” that begins to turn Cal’s life (and heart) around.

There are several things I LOVED about this movie:

1)  The acting and production is stellar.  There was never a moment in the movie where I thought, “Man, I wish this movie was a little more on par with today’s production standards.”  It was done well and includes some of today’s top-notch actors.

2)  The emotions are raw and real.  You can’t help but have your heart ache for the pain that Cal is going through with his family and career.

3)  The hero is a man with Down’s Syndrome.  “Produce” is played by David DeSanctis, who I had the privilege of meeting personally in January (see pic below).  David played the character beautifully.  The audience falls in love with “Produce” as they watch his joy, hope, and positivity influence Cal’s hardened hart.  I believe this movie will help the world see that people who have mental disabilities can teach us an awful lot!  They are VERY special people that make our world brighter!

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Hanging with David DeSanctis at CPC in California

There are a couple of cautions with this movie:

1)  It is a PG-13 movie.  While it has a phenomenal faith message, the movie does not shy away from the adult themes that are presented.  The real horrors of alcoholism are depicted.  There is also a scene of sexual assault (modestly done, no nudity, no actual visual of the assault) that will be highly disturbing to young viewers.  I would not recommend this movie for any children below the age of 13.

2)  It is not a “Christian” movie.  The movie has faith interwoven throughout.  However, there is not a strong, straight-forward Gospel message.  While it is obvious that “Produce” is a Christian and that he attends church (there is even a church scene with a preacher and a choir), Jesus and salvation are not presented.  Now, this is not necessarily a knock on the movie.  I understand why they took this approach.  However, if you are looking for a movie a la “Courageous” or “God’s Not Dead” that is more of a Christian Pep Rally, then this movie is not necessarily going to deliver that for you.  Personally, I think taking this approach is going to make this movie much more approachable for theaters and casual movie goers.  For that reason, I am glad they did.

I highly recommend this movie for every adult!  It is also appropriate as a Family film for children 13 and over.  It releases nationwide on May 15th.  Take some friends!  Invite your neighbors!  Check out the trailer:

 

How To Lead A “Creative Team”

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Ten years ago, when I first began creating High Voltage Kids Ministry curriculum, I remember being scared to death.  I had never tried ANYTHING like this before and had put it off for many years already.  You see, I had felt God leading me in this direction but wasn’t willing to take the leap.  When I finally decided to jump, I assembled a team of 10 of my best leaders in a room, and we proceeded to craft the very first High Voltage release, “Got Questions?”  It was a wonderfully collaborative process, and the end product was amazing.

When it came time to work on the second series, “BUGS”, I took a radically different approach.  I sat down in front of a computer and tried coming up with everything on my own – start to finish.  I wrote the lessons, the games, the video scripts, etc.  It took 4 times as long, and it was an excruciatingly painful process.  I realized through that experience – creativity flows much easier when it is done in community.

Now, every time we set out to do a new curriculum series (which is about every 6-8 weeks at this point), I assemble a Creative Team to help with the process.  I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned as I have worked with my Creative Teams for the past 10 years.

When Working With A “Creative Team”:

 1.  Choose a creative location

The environment bears a lot on the final result of the creative team.  Choose a place that inspires creativity.  Sterile atmospheres tend to “dull” a team.  Choose a place to meet that has personality and energy to it. It needs to be a place free from distractions, though.  Creative people are often EASILY distracted.

 2.  Set some ground rules

You want your meeting to be “free flowing” without becoming a “free-for-all.”  Let the team know that they can share ideas freely without fear of being shut down.  However, tell them that the entire team has to agree not to purposefully crack jokes or make remarks that do not inherently add to the discussion.  Let them know that you will serve as the mediator when things get off track.

3.  Work as the rudder, not the engine

During the process, you want your team to feel a sense of ownership of the ideas.  Don’t come into the meeting with a list of ideas that you are already committed to.  It’s OK to come prepared with ideas, but only share them as they become necessary.

Allow everyone to share their ideas openly, without criticism.  Tell them, “There is no such thing as a bad idea.”  Now, there is no way to implement EVERY idea.  But, exercise caution before you dismiss an idea.  You don’t want to do so too quickly.  Sometimes one suggestion sparks another that leads you to where you ultimately want to go.

As much as possible, allow the team to come up with the ideas. Help steer them in the right direction.

4.  Deliver your ideas in the form of questions.

Rather than say, “Here’s an idea…”  Instead, present your ideas in the form of a question, allowing the team to react to it.  I remember when we were working on our series called “Five 4 The Fight” which focused on five scriptures dealing with Spiritual Warfare.  I had an idea that we needed to do a “boxing theme” with this series.  Well, instead of  walking into the room and announcing,“We need to do a boxing theme.”  I said, “We’re talking about spiritual attacks.  It’s you against the devil.  What’s a modern, tangible way that we can illustrate that one-on-one fight for kids?”  The team naturally gravitated toward Boxing (although one guy wanted to go the direction of WWE Wrestling, but we quickly passed that up, LOL).

Now, if the team isn’t moving forward and you want to insert your idea, you can even be more direct in your questions if you need to.  “Would boxing be a good metaphor for a one-on-one spiritual fight with the devil?”  Then, when the team begins to talk about it, they will start to feel ownership of the idea.  The creativity will flow much smoother that way than if you dictated what the topic was going to be.

 5.  Don’t be afraid to “table” the discussion

We all have deadlines.  Sometimes, there can be a LOT of pressure to not walk away from the meeting without ALL the creative ideas fleshed out.  Although it can be helpful to “press on” at times, other times it is better to just walk away for a period.  Take a break.  Go for a walk together.  Come back tomorrow, if you can.  It is often better to walk away to “sharpen the saw” than to keep trying to cut down the tree with a dull blade.  Meeting a deadline no-matter-what can often result in a poor product.  Don’t let yourself make that mistake.  Walk away, get refreshed, then return to knock it out.

Well, those are just five principles I use when leading my Creative Team.  Do you work with a team to help you in the creative process?  What are some of the things you have learned that you could share with this community?  Please LEAVE A COMMENT and share with us!

How Do You Know If You Are Called To Full-Time Ministry?

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Several weeks ago I received an email from a fellow Kids Ministry leader.  He asked, “Can you help me as far as my calling?  How did you know you were called?  How can I affirm my calling?”  Such great questions – and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated.  I wanted so hard to give the “right” answers to his questions – so I kept thinking and thinking (and putting off writing about it).

I finally realized that there really isn’t a “right” answer.  However, I can share from my experience and the experiences of others to share with you some key factors that are definitely in the equation.  Here goes:

1)  The Desires Of Your Heart

From the time I became a Christian on February 26, 1989 I began sensing in my heart that God wanted me to become a full-time pastor one day.  Every time I prayed I sensed this.  However, I continued to talk myself out of it.  I told myself, “God hasn’t called you.  You just WANT to become a pastor because you love God and you love your own pastor.  This is all in your head.  This isn’t God.”  Somehow, I had convinced myself that God wouldn’t call me to do something that I WANTED to do.  I believed that God only calls people to do things that they would never want to do (like go to Africa).  That was the true test of obedience, right?  Wrong!

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. – Psalm 37:4

If you focus your heart and your attention on God, seeking His will, He will form and mold your heart’s desires into conformity to His will.  The reason I wanted to become a pastor was because I was seeking God with all my heart, and He was leading me in that direction.  Still, I struggled as to whether this “was just me” or if this was God.

2)  The “Call” Of God

After two years of struggling with whether or not I was supposed to pursue the path to become a full-time pastor, I went to Youth Camp with the expressed purpose of gaining clarity on this issue.  I told God, “Every other year, I came to Youth Camp for the girls and the fun.  This year, I just want to hear from You.  I need to hear from You.  I need to know whether or not this is your will for me to be a pastor.”  I prayed all week and never really felt a peace about the situation.

Finally, on the final night of Camp I knelt at the altar and said, “God, I am not leaving until I hear from You.”  And, I didn’t.  It got to the point that EVERY person had left the Sanctuary and gone outside for the festivities, but I was still praying.  Finally, after nearly an hour and a half of prayer – I distinctly heard God’s voice.  It wasn’t audible, but it was clear.  God showed me that it was most definitely His desire for me to pursue full-time ministry as a pastor and that He would equip me to do what He was calling me to do.”  I was so relieved and energized.

God speaks in many different ways.  It is rarely audible.  He sometimes speaks through gentle whispers in prayer, through His Word, or through circumstances.  But, if you feel like you are called to be in ministry full-time, you had better know that you know you have been called by God to do so.  Ministry is tough.  Often, it is stressful and unrewarding.  There will be moments when the only thing that keeps you going is that knowing deep down that God CALLED you to do this.

Don’t pursue full-time ministry merely because your parent or mentor wants you to, because it sounds interesting, or simply because you care about people. There is something that must be more powerful and purposeful within you as you are moved by the Spirit to teach the Word of God, to defend the truth, and to shepherd the people of God.  Ministry is not a profession, or a job. It is a calling of God.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”Ephesians 4:11,12

Understand, ALL Christians (saints) are called to do “the work of the ministry.”  We are all called to spread the love of God and share the gospel with the dying world around us.  But, there is a definite calling that MUST come from God to pursue one of the five roles mentioned in this passage.

My pastor, Rod Loy, often says, “If you can imagine doing anything else, you need to do it.”  If you are called, ministry is not AN option, it is THE mandate.  Even on the difficult days, when ministry isn’t fun or rewarding, you have a sense of rightness and purpose – doing what you are supposed to.  If you find yourself daydreaming on a regular basis about being a finance manager, you should probably be doing that.

3)  Affirmation By Spiritual Leaders

Once you feel that you are called by God to pursue full-time ministry, set up a time to talk with your pastor, mentor, spiritual leaders.  Ask them their thoughts about you pursuing a life dedicated to full-time ministry.  Those who work closest with you will no doubt sense God’s hand on your life and can affirm the calling you feel you’ve received.  If your pastor or spiritual leaders do not feel this is a path you should pursue, spend more time in prayer.  It very well may be that you are called to minister to children (or youth or adults, etc.), but just not as your life’s sole purpose.  There are many volunteer (meaning, unpaid) pastors, evangelists, teachers who are just as much called, but they don’t necessarily “make a living” from ministry work.  The Apostle Paul is a great example:

“…and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.”Acts 18:3

If you feel called to full-time ministry, then you should be presently serving in ministry in the local church.  Ministry flows out of who you are.  If you have the heart of a servant, you will begin serving God’s church in whatever capacity you are able.  Don’t wait to go to Bible College, receive a diploma or credentials, and then start ministering.  Ministry is not a destination.  Ministry is a calling.  Flesh that calling out every day in every way.  Remember…

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” – 1 Peter 5:6

Are You A Secure Or Insecure Leader?

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Security is the main ingredient of healthy relationships.  You need healthy relationships with others in order to fulfill the call God has placed on your life.  As a Kids Ministry Leader, your goal is to raise up others to join you in the vision of raising the next generation of life-long followers of Christ.  If you are not secure in who you are and who God has created you to be, you will (consciously or not) poison your relationships with the people God puts around you. 

My pastor, Rod Loy, challenges our entire team to evaluate whether or not we are Secure or Insecure Leaders.  Here is part of a grid he provided for us:

Insecure Leader – when someone else succeeds, they divert credit to themselves

Secure Leader – gives credit away to others.

Insecure Leader – surrounds themselves with weaker people because they have an inner need to be adored

Secure Leader – is comfortable with the strengths of others and surround themselves with strong leaders

Insecure Leader – when evaluating themselves, they only see weaknesses

Secure Leader – they know their weaknesses exist, but they are not crippled by them

Insecure Leader – evaluate by “how do I compare to others?”

Secure Leader – evaluate themselves by “how am I doing right now?”

Insecure Leader – can’t laugh at themselves

Secure Leader – laugh at their mistakes, seeing them as another opportunity to learn

Insecure Leader – resists evaluation (they have inextricably connected their performance with their self-worth)

Secure Leader – embraces evaluation as an opportunity to grow

Insecure Leader – they are very hard on others who make mistakes

Secure Leader – more patient with other people and with their growth process

Insecure Leader – may enjoy success for a season

Secure Leader – will enjoy success for a lifetime

Insecure Leader – says “Blessings are to be enjoyed by me!”

Secure Leader – asks “How many blessings can I share?”

Insecure Leader – produces insecure followers

Secure Leader – produces other secure leaders

So, are you a Secure Leader or an Insecure Leader?  It’s not too late to change course:

1)  Learn to see yourself the way God sees you.

2)  Hang around secure leaders and friends.

3)  Recognize when reactions are based on insecurity.  Retrain yourself away from those reactions.

4)  Ask God to help you become more secure in Him so that you can build a team of Secure Leaders to help you reach this generation and advance the cause of Christ!

The more secure you are, the better leader you will be.

“Friends In Slow Places” (Time Change Parody 2015)

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And our final installment in our Time Change Sunday series this year is for all of you Country fans (of which I am NOT).  Hope you enjoy our spoof on a Garth Brooks classic.

Missed our other Time Change Parodies?  Here you go:

“Set My Clock” (parody of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”)

“All About Time Change” (parody of “All About That Bass”)