Kids Ministry “Meatloaf”

kids-ministry-meatloaf

A mother was making meatloaf with her teenage daughter, a ritual they’ve been doing together for years.  As part of the tradition, the two chefs cut the end off one side of the meatloaf before putting it in the oven.  One day, the teen asks, “Mom, why do we cut the end off the meatloaf before we put it in the oven?”

Taken by surprise, the mom began to think.  She really wasn’t sure of the reason, but she had observed her own mother do this many times when she made meatloaf.  So, the teen and the mother called up Grandma to find the answer.  After a brief laugh, the grandmother admitted that she didn’t really know the answer either; she’d learned the technique from her mother.  Their curiosity sparked, the three went to visit Great-Grandma in the nursing home where she lived.  Upon hearing the question, the 98-year-old great-grandmother roared with laughter.  “I have no idea why YOU are cutting the end off the meatloaf!  I used to do it because I didn’t have a big enough pan!”

We laugh at this story, but how many of us could take a long hard look at our Kids Ministry and find that we are still doing many things the same way after many years only because we saw someone else do it that way in the past.  It would do us all some good to look at our ministry with a microscope and find out how many areas we are “cutting the meat loaf” in.

It’s time to question the status quo.  Look at the programs, processes, and systems in your Kids Ministry.  Many things may have made sense in the past, but are no longer relevant.  Not everything is a “meatloaf”, but many things are.  It’s important to ask yourself the question so you know where the “meatloaf” is in your ministry.

What are some areas in your ministry that you have discovered were “meatloaf” in the past?  Share your experiences in the comments section.  Let’s learn from one another…

Should Kids Ministry Leaders Drink Alcohol?

drinkingThe other day I answered a question that was posed in a Children’s Ministry forum that I belong to.  “How do you all handle seeing Facebook posts of your adult volunteers drinking or bar hopping?”  There was definitely a diversity of opinion among the members of the group.  So, I thought that this would make a good blog post and a healthy conversation.

Before I get into it, let me make something perfectly clear:  This is my opinion.  I am not declaring doctrine, nor am I telling you what your standards should be.  I am simply sharing my personal thoughts on the subject.

On my Kids Ministry Team, we have a policy for our Children’s Ministry volunteers that states, “I will strive to live a holy life and avoid habits that diminish my personal testimony or hinder my ability to lead.  I understand that my position on the leadership pyramid leaves me with less options than others.”  This includes drinking alcohol in public (bars, restaurants) or posting pictures of themselves partaking in alcohol.

My leaders also know that it is my desire and preference that they not drink alcohol AT ALL.  I understand that this may seem drastic to some of you.  Certainly, there is a point-of-view that says, “Drinking alcohol, as long as you don’t get drunk, is not a sin.”  This is a belief many people hold based on the fact that Jesus apparently drank wine at different times in the New Testament account.  Also, Ephesians 5:18 seems not to prohibit drinking alcohol, but does condemn becoming drunk:  “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit…”  I definitely won’t argue or discuss that viewpoint.  I am not addressing the subject of “Should CHRISTIANS drink alcohol?”  That is a broad subject for another blog, another time (most likely another author, because I don’t plan to address that issue).

There are many things that, while they are not necessarily sin or sinful – as a leader of other Christ followers – I do not do.  The reason is not simply because it is sin, but because there are many who would be confused or troubled by me doing it.

“It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble.  You may believe there’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, but keep it between yourself and God.” – Romans 14:21-22  

Since my goal is not to “be free to do things,” but rather to lead others in their walk with Christ, there are things I have decided just are not worth it because of the difficulty they would cause others I am trying to lead.

Alcohol is a killer – in many ways.  Teen alcohol use, alcoholism, drunk-driving, etc.  I really just don’t want to be connected with something that has VERY few positives about it and PLENTY of negatives.

Being leaders and teachers of children – we have to have a MUCH higher standard for our habits and behavior.  Children are impressionable in ways that adults may not be.  Jesus cautioned us in Matthew 18:6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  This means that we must go above and beyond in not allowing anything in our lives to have the potential to cause children to choose a path that is destructive to them.

It is one thing to make a choice to privately drink wine/beer with dinner or in the privacy of your own home (Ephesians 5:18).  But, once you choose to be a LEADER – especially to children – the standard is much higher.  As Dr. John Maxwell so eloquently puts it:

“The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself.  It’s doing what is best for the team.  For that reason, leaders have to give up their rights.  The higher you go in leadership, the more its going to cost you.  You will have to give up to go up.”

Being involved in a ministry team is purely voluntary.  I believe that anyone who is involved in ministry should be willing to represent the church they serve. Depending on your context and the standards in your community, you should be willing to come in line with the standards that are set forth in those ministries.  

I understand there are many who will say, “You’re just being legalistic!  You are making up do’s and don’ts that aren’t in the Bible!  If Jesus didn’t want us to drink he would not have started his ministry by turning water into wine.”  Again, those arguments would be valid if we were talking about “Christians in general.”  But, we are talking about those who CHOOSE to be a part of a ministry team that focuses on leading children in their spiritual journey to become more like Jesus.  

I want my leaders to live lives that are above reproach and would never cause a parent or child to question their heart, motives, or lifestyle. I have that rule to protect the kids, but also to protect the volunteers from unnecessary criticism.  One day I will stand before God and answer for the way I led my team.  I would much rather receive a rebuke from God for “having too high of a standard that you kept some people from choosing to serve” rather than “you caused many of my little ones to stumble.”

So, I know I have opened up a HUGE debate here.  I would love to have some of your thoughts on this.  I invite opposing points of view.  The goal is to learn from each other.  Please leave a comment in the Comments section on this post.

 

 

Are You Stealing From Others For The Sake Of The Ministry?

A-bank-robber-in-traditio-004
It was a hot Summer afternoon in Dallas, Texas in 1993.  I had a flat tire – and no spare.  I locked my car, left it on the side of busy I-35E in the middle of rush hour traffic, and started running to the closest service station about 1 mile away.  I got there, bought a cheap spare tire, and rolled it back down the hill to my car.  I had only been gone approximately 20 minutes.

When I arrived, I found my back window broken with glass all in my back seat.  I looked inside to find that my brand new in-dash CD Player was GONE!  Twenty minutes – in broad daylight, on a busy highway, in plain sight – someone had stolen the most important thing in my car.  I was angry, to say the least.

Have you ever felt that way?  Ever had something stolen from you?  It hurts.  You feel violated.  You feel cheated.  It makes your heart sink.  You would never do anything like that to someone else…or would you?

Every week, almost daily, well-meaning Kidmin Leaders are stealing from others – all in the name of ministry.  They are stealing something that can not be replaced.  It’s not money.  It’s not possessions.  It IS opportunity.  The opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and use their talents to build the Kingdom of God.

“Wait a second, Brian!  Those are harsh words!  How am I STEALING from others?”  Well, you steal from others when you insist on being “THE MAN” or “THE WOMAN” doing all the up-front ministry in Kids Ministry.  Too many Kidmin Leaders are on stage or up in front of the classroom nearly 100% of the service/class time while many capable volunteers are sitting in the room (sometimes in the back of the room) never being allowed to participate in leading.

Men and women who have been gifted and called by God to join us in working with kids are all around us. When we demand to do it all ourselves, we deprive them of the joy of fulfilling their God-given potential.

I understand – you love what you do!  You feel called to preach to kids, to enlighten them on the things of God.  You love teaching, speaking, singing, doing characters/puppets – so you do all of that…yourself.  There are a lot of reasons why you do this.  None of them are because you want to STEAL the opportunity from others.

  • You think you’re to busy to train others to do the work
  • You’re convinced nobody can do it as well as you can
  • You think, “It’s faster if I just do it myself.”

I believe there are people in every church who are waiting for us to ask them to join us.  If we wait until they beg us to allow them to be up front, we may be waiting a long time.  People want to be personally invited to invest their time and talents.  Don’t assume people are reluctant.  Most people are eager to help, but they want you to ask them.  They want to use their gifts and talents, and they want to feel needed.  They’re just waiting on you to ask them, so man up and ask them!  Get your ego out of the way and share the spotlight!

Let’s be painfully honest: One of the main reasons kids’ ministry leaders insist on doing it all themselves is that their egos won’t let them share the spotlight. They enjoy the thrill of being on stage. They get an adrenaline rush from being “the man” or “the woman” who’s indispensable.

This can’t be you, can it? Maybe not. I denied it, too, until about 9 years ago.  Before I made some drastic changes, it was absolutely true for me.

Take an honest inventory of your heart and motives. Ask hard questions, and let God’s Spirit reveal your hidden desires. Is your ego keeping you from building a team?  Whatever the reason – repent and change.  Stop stealing the opportunity to make a difference from those God has called to work alongside you.  You are called to LEAD!  Start leading your team into new heights!  Bow out of the spotlight and let others SHINE!

How about you?  Do you have a tendency to be up-front the entire time while others sit in the back…waiting?  Have you been “stealing” from others without realizing it?  What is ONE thing you can do THIS WEEK to begin to change?  Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.  Let’s help each other take a step up in this area!  Let’s help each other STOP STEALING!

Should I Tell My Pastor About This?

“Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?”

It’s a question that most staff members struggle with.  “When is the right time to share information with my Lead Pastor?”  Naturally, you don’t want to be a pest and “bother” him.  At the same time, you don’t want to hold onto information that may be vital to the church for a long time and deprive him of the opportunity to respond in an appropriate way in the appropriate time.

Here is a good list to follow when deciding “Should I tell my Lead Pastor About This NOW or LATER?” that my pastor shared with us.

Report to Lead Pastor NOW (phone call or face to face) if…

1)    Someone in the church is angry or upset (he doesn’t want to be blindsided and not be prepared for it)

2)    If you made a critical mistake (leadership, judgement error, etc.)

3)    If someone is facing a crisis or emergency

4)    If it affects the Sunday Morning (main) service (whether today is Monday or Saturday, doesn’t matter)

5)    If it is a sin issue in the leadership team

6)    If it is a “significant” financial issue (the term “significant” varies with each Lead Pastor)

7)    If a crucial judgement call is required (don’t just guess on what your Lead Pastor would do, ask him)

8)  Hospital/Death/Birth (these are significant life moments your pastor wants to be part of)

9)  If an important event has a major change

10) If YOU have a significant family crisis

11) If he receives a phone call or visit from someone of importance

12) If it’s a liability issue that could negatively affect the church

Save it for later (e-mail, staff meeting, or in-person) if…

1)    No action can be taken right now

2)    He won’t end up hearing it from anyone else

3)    It doesn’t affect the upcoming service or event

4)    You have dealt with it completely with no chance of negative consequences

5)    It is “regular” business (approving someone for ministry, calendar decisions, general updates)

6)    If the information can be shared in a meeting setting (with others present)

7)    If you are merely reporting facts (FYI)

8)    If the decision falls within your discretionary authority

9) When the lack of information won’t hurt them

10) If it’s a personal issue, but non-emergency

11) If you disagree with a leadership decision they have made

What do you think?  Would you add or take away any from these lists?  Share your comments in the comments section.

The Key To Limitless Creativity

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I like to write about creativity.  It’s a passion of mine because I know so many people who sell themselves short when it comes to creativity.  Many have decided that “creativity is a gift reserved for the few.”  This is simply not true – not if you serve GOD!

Even the most creative human minds are finite.  The term finite means “having bounds or limits; not infinite; measurable.”  But God is infinite.  He is “far above all,” not limited by any boundaries at all.  When we draw only on our own creative resources, it’s like drinking from a thimble instead of the Great Lakes.

God’s power, love, and plans are beyond anything we can imagine.  If we cultivate an attentive heart, we’ll tap into His limitless capacity.  We’ll never come close to the depths of His greatness, but we can take several steps closer!  In his beautiful prayer in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prayed, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

What’s the biggest dream you can imagine about how God can use you in his kingdom?  Seriously, take a moment and think about it.  Got it?  Guess what.  You just undercut God. Your greatest and grandest ideas don’t compare to God’s limitless plans and resources.  God is not limited to working with our imagination.  He goes well beyond it—immeasurably beyond.

Far too often, we forget the power of God to inspire us.  We think His power is reserved for healings, conversions, and deliverances, but it also operates in our creative plans and dreams.  God wants to inspire us with so many “God ideas” that we’ll never be able to implement them all.  But first, we have to have open, receptive hearts.

Is your heart open to receive?  More importantly, are you asking?

(for more about Creativity and receiving “God-Ideas”, see Chapter 2 in my book, “I Blew It!”)

The Poison Of Procrastination

As I’ve talked to hundreds of people involved in kids’ ministries across the country, I’ve observed that there’s an epidemic of procrastination.  We excuse it in all kinds of ways, but all our reasons lead to the same result.  Yes, you have to be quick, and you never know what a kid is going to say or what kind of crazy thing will happen next.  But many kids’ leaders believe their enthusiastic personalities and the spontaneity of their ministry give them a license to walk in unprepared.  They try to get by, doing the least they can do, and it shows.

I know what this is all about.  I used to fall prey to this procrastination trap for many years.  I wrote about it in my book, I Blew It! (the biggest mistakes I have made in Kids Ministry and how you can avoid them)”.  In the book, I tell about how the spontaneity bug bit me and caused me to lose credibility.

There’s no excuse for procrastination in preparing for children’s ministry.  God has given us an incredible privilege and responsibility to lead kids on their spiritual journey to becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ. Someday, we’ll give an account for our motives and actions.  I don’t want to stand before God on that day and tell Him, “I would’ve been more intentional about my ministry to Your children, God, but I had more important things to do.”

Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the day that’s coming: “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

We serve kids because we love God with all our hearts and He has given us a love for children.  And we work hard to prepare and serve because someday we’ll give an account of our lives.  On that day, we want to see Him smile and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23)

That’s what I want to hear.  How about you?

Longevity In Ministry – The Benefits

This past weekend I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the Power Up conference in Southern California.  I was so blessed to meet two incredible individuals, both over 80 years old and STILL actively involved in Children’s Ministry.  What truly blew me away was that even after 60+ years in Children’s Ministry, they were both at a Conference ready and eager to learn.

At this same conference, they honored a couple, Ron and Judy Radachy (pictured above), who had served 35 years in an inner-city ministry in Hollywood, CA.  It was such a blessing to see two people who had invested their lives in ONE place.  Their stories were astounding!

There’s something to be said about longevity in ministry – especially longevity in ONE place.  I see a lot of church hopping in Children’s Ministry today.  I have been the Kids Pastor here at First NLR for over 14 years.  In that time, I have several Kidmin friends who have been in four and five different churches.  While, I understand there are times that God calls us on to another place, too often I see people leaving for petty reasons and/or perceived “greener pastures.”

Probably all of us in ministry have heard the stats, and they are troubling.  The average Children/Youth Minister only stays at his current church for about 18 months.  Some studies have stated that it may be more like 3 years, and others I have seen say it’s more like 9-11 months.  But suffice it to say, the tenure of the average Children/Youth Minister is way too short.

When you move on too quickly, you miss out on the incredible benefits of longevity in ministry:

  • Improved Perspective – the longer you stay in one place, the greater perspective you have.  You know the history of the ministry – what worked and what didn’t work.  You know the struggles and victories of the people in your ministry.  You are able to minister from an increased awareness of their needs.
  • Deeper Relationships – it takes time to get “beyond the surface” in relationships.  The longer you stay, the more highs and lows you experience with people.  The longer you stay, the more they trust you to “stick it out” and be there for the long haul.  When they trust you, relationships go deeper.
  • Increased Wisdom – the longer you stay, the more mistakes you will make.  Hopefully, you will learn from those mistakes and grow.  Then, you will gain wisdom and not make those same mistakes again.  In addition, it seems that around the 6th or 7th year of being at a place, suddenly people begin to see you as smarter.  You may not be that much smarter, but their perception of you begins to become more of a wise mentor than a “new pastor on staff.”
  • Sharper Skills – many people claim to have “ten years of Children’s Ministry experience” when in actuality they have “2 years of Children’s Ministry experience in five different churches.”  Too many leave a church and move to the next one once they have run out of ideas.  Then, they move to the next church and put the same two years worth of ideas into that church – and so on.  When you commit to be at the same spot for the long haul, it FORCES you to develop your skills beyond your comfort zone.  Your communication skills, leadership skills, and relational skills are stretched when you choose to stay beyond the “itch” for something new.  Don’t go looking for that “something new” elsewhere, develop that “something new” right where you are!
  • Unparalleled Fulfillment – there is nothing that compares to being able to watch the children you minister to grow up and become strong leaders in the church.  I now have had the privilege to perform marriages of kids who grew up in my Kids Ministry.  My right-hand man, our other Kids Pastor here at First NLR, was a 2nd Grader when I came to the church.  There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing your ministry come full-circle

Longevity in ministry may be rare, but I believe that is slowly changing.  As Kids Ministry Leaders begin to recognize the benefits of longevity, this will begin to become the norm instead of the exception.

What about you?  What are some benefits to longevity that I may have missed?

Kids Ministry F.A.T. C.A.T.S.

 

The last few posts have been about the importance of building a team, but once you have made the choice to do ministry as a team, then you need to make sure you choose the right kind of people to be your Kidmin team members.  It’s not about just “getting a warm body to sit in this classroom with these kids.”  You want your team to be remarkable.  You want a bunch of F.A.T. C.A.T.S.!

F – Faithful

When you assemble your ministry team, look for those who are faithful.  Faithful people show up when they say they will, they serve with excellence, and they are reliable in every situation.  Remind your team that all of us want to one day enter heaven and hear these words: 

‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.’”  – Matthew 25:19

A – Available

As I mentioned, you don’t just want to find any warm body to serve in Children’s Ministry.  Being available is not about “not having anything else to do.”  “Available” is an attitude that says, “I am willing to serve in whatever capacity will advance the Kingdom of God.”  When assembling your team, recruit people who are available to serve wherever needed because they have a passion to reach kids, not people with the “I don’t do windows” mentality.

T – Teachable

I’ve been in Children’s Ministry for over twenty years, and I STILL have so much to learn.  A teachable spirit is something a person must possess if they are going to be effective in ministry.  The more you learn, the more you find out just how much there is you still don’t know.  A ministry team will only grow to the point that its leader is willing to grow.  No matter how much we may know, there is so much more to learn if we want our ministry to flourish.

C – Committed

In society today, commitment is a value that seems to be waning in importance.  Whether it is commitment to a career, a marriage, or church, finding an everyday American that is wholeheartedly committed to something is difficult.   Being committed means a person will “stick with it” no matter how difficult the conditions become.

A – Accountable

Accountability is something we often want from others, but rarely want to give to others.  In a ministry team, accountability is a key factor for things to run smoothly.  When you are building your ministry team, don’t look for those who refuse to submit themselves to authority.  Look for those who are willing to be accountable to you as their leader.

T – Transparent

Too often we try to hide our real self and put on a front for others.  We don’t want to admit our faults, our weaknesses, or our failures.  On a ministry team, this works against the goal of “working together.”  When you can’t share your feelings, fears, or failures with someone, there’s no real trust there.  Without trust, every team will falter.  Oftentimes, we project a false version of ourselves for others to see.  Rather than be genuine and authentic we are pretentious and fake.  Rather than be transparent, we find ourselves putting up walls between ourselves and our fellow team members.

Transparency is a quality that each member of your ministry team should possess.  Really, transparency is about integrity and is powerful in bonding relationships on a team.  It builds trust and breaks down walls.  Ephesians 4:15 says,  “Let our lives lovingly express the truth in all things–speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly.”   That’s being transparent.

S – Serving

Dwight L. Moody once said, “The measure of a man is not how many servants he has, but how many men he serves.”  One of the greatest traits of anyone in ministry is having a heart for serving others.  What is ministry all about?  It’s about serving others.  As we ministry to children, there are many times when we are going to be required to do things that are out of our comfort zone (crazy characters, pies-in-the-face, and lock-ins just to name a few).  We must seek to display a heart of service that says, “Whatever I have to do to reach these kids, I will do it!”

Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else (Mark 9:35).”

There are so many children to reach and so little time to reach them.  We need to partner with those who are faithful, available, teachable, committed, accountable, transparent, and serving in order to accomplish this Great Commission.  It’s time to get some F.A.T. C.A.T.S. on your Kid’s Ministry team!

Run YOUR Race (Marathon Lessons pt. 5)

When I began this journey, my goal was to “finish a marathon.”  I didn’t have a goal to beat a certain race time or another racer.  I just wanted to finish!

What happened along the way is just part of human nature.  I joined Nike Plus and started comparing my average minutes/mile with others.  In the half marathon race I ran during my training, I sprinted the last mile – all in an effort to BEAT a woman across the finish line.  My focus shifted from trying to complete a goal to trying to WIN the race by beating the other racers.  I ended up paying a high price for it.  I inured myself in that half marathon as I tried to beat the woman across the finish line.

So, I had to come to my senses and get back to the actual reason I started the journey.  I had to shift my focus from trying to WIN and comparing myself to others to simply FINISHING the race and accomplishing the goal.

“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” – Hebrews 12:1b

God has set a race before each of us.  He equips each of us differently in order to accomplish different objectives.  YOUR race may not be the same as MY race.  YOUR gifts and talents may not be exactly the same as MY gifts and talents.  God has called YOU to finish YOUR race – and ME to finish MY race.  Why, then, do we fall into the COMPARISON TRAP?

In life, we tend to compare with others.  “She’s skinnier than I am.”  “He has more friends on Facebook than I do.”  “They have more ministry opportunities than I have.”  We start comparing how we are doing with how others are doing.  We feel that we need to outperform other churches, other ministries, and other ministers.  This is NOT what God called us to do.

It makes little sense.  Think about it.  If I am out for a run and someone passes me, I have a tendency to feel like I am a loser and need to speed up.  In fact, I really don’t have all the facts about that other runner:

  • Where they are in their run – they may be just starting mile 1 and I am at mile 12 (therefore they have more energy)
  • Where they are in their training – I may be on week 1, and they are on week 22 (therefore they have more stamina)
  • What they are training for – I may be training for a marathon, and they are training for a 1K sprint
  • What else they have going on – they may be young and carefree while I have a family, job, and ministry that demands much of my time

All of those factors are completely unknown by me at the moment, so it would be totally silly for me to compare my speed against theirs at that particular moment.  But, we do that – in running, and in life.  It’s just as silly in either arena.

God has called you to be FAITHFUL to the calling He has put on your life.  When you stand before Him, He will not ask you, “Why didn’t you have as many kids in your ministry as the church down the street?”  He won’t ask you, “Why didn’t you write as many articles for magazines as that other Kids Pastor did?”  He won’t say, “I am so proud of you for beating all the other churches in Missions giving last year.”

Your goal – and mine – should be to one day be able to stand before our Creator and hear Him say simply, “Well done, my good and FAITHFUL servant.”  I want to hear my Lord say, “You did everything you could with everything I gave you.  You did it for the right reasons.  You didn’t get caught up in the comparison game.”

So, do that, Kidmin Leaders.  Run YOUR race!  Finish YOUR race!  It’s the only one God called you and equipped you to run!  Be FAITHFUL and make HIM proud!

RELATED POSTS:

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 1

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 2

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 3

Lessons From My Marathon Pt. 4

 

There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat (Lessons from my marathon pt. 4)

When I set out to start training for my full marathon, I didn’t put a lot of thought into how I would train.  I simply jumped on runnersworld.com and downloaded the most commonly used training program.  It basically focused on running four times per week, slowly increasing total miles run each week.  It was a common method, so I assumed it would work best.

Well, it didn’t.  Each time I got to the 13-14 mile range in my training, I suffered from the I.T. Band injury I spoke about in my second blog post on this series.  I began to get very frustrated with this.  I talked to a friend of mine who had completed several marathons, and he suggested I look into Jeff Galloway‘s “run-walk-run” method.

This method is exactly what it sounds like.  You run for a minute, then walk for a minute, then run for a minute.  It seemed totally ludicrous to me.  I thought, “I will end up with a tremendously slow race time if I do that.  That’s dumb.”  One thing is for sure, what I was doing wasn’t working, so I tried it.

The amazing thing is, I actually had a FASTER time doing the run-walk-run method than when I just “gutted it up” and ran the whole thing.  In fact, during the “run” part of the run-walk-run, I was running at a pace that was 3 minutes per mile faster than my average time when I RAN the whole thing.  CRAZY!

LESSON #4 – “There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat!”

In other words, “be open to new ways of doing things.”  If only I would have taken the time to talk with my friend who had climbed this mountain before when I first began my training.  I might have saved the heartache of injury and being knocked out of my first marathon.  I might have achieved my goal a whole year prior to when I did.  Human nature is to assume that the most common way is the best way to do things.

Tried and true is never the only way to do anything and may not be the best way.  This includes in ministry.  With the technological and educational advances of the last decade, there are almost always better, faster, and easier ways to do things than there were even 6 months ago.  The problem is, often we get in our own way.  What we need to do is let go of our resistance to new, be willing to experiment with ways that may seem ludicrous to us at first.

What about you?  Are you resistant to ways of doing ministry that are different from what you are used to?  Do you find yourself scoffing at those who manage their time, organize their life, or train their team differently than you do?  What is an area in your life or ministry in which you need to “challenge the process” and try doing things differently for a while?  You never know – you may end up finding that it is more productive and efficient than what you are currently doing.

“If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.”  – Mark Twain

Related Posts: 

Lessons From My Marathon – Pt. 1

Lessons From My Marathon – Pt. 2

Lessons From My Marathon – Pt. 3

Lesson From My Marathon Pt. 5