88 Leadership Quotes and Questions from #D62017

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Greg Baird – @GregJBaird

“The Church is divinely designed to develop leaders through the discipleship process.”

Ephesians 4:12 “…to equip the saints for the work of ministry…” What does an equipped saint look like?

Are the few doing the ministry for the many? Or are the few equipping the many for the ministry?

Do new believers get called and sent into the mission upon conversion?

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Ron Hunter – @ronhunter

“Disciples is not an event, it’s a way of life.”

“Isn’t it interesting what God can do with an hour if it is given unto him.”

Do my conversations connect influentially with my kids?

If our kids dressed in the armor of God the same way we do as parents, will they be protected?

“Our roles as ministry leaders is to help parents connect with their children.”

“Face to face is confrontational but shoulder to shoulder allows an atmosphere for tough topics.”

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Christina Embree – @EmbreeChristina

“Discipleship at home was not about doing more but inviting Christ into what we were already doing.”

“Brushing your teeth can become discipleship. Parking far away can be discipleship. Hearing sirens can be discipleship.”

“The most ordinary thing becomes the sacred thing when Christ is in it.”

“Christ can take the most ordinary, mundane thing and make it sacred through His Holy Spirit.”

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The Skit Guys – @skitguys

“The truth about the little ones we get, it’s God idea, and our responsibility.”

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Dr. Gary Chapman – @DrGaryChapman

“As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

“The time to prepare for marriage is not after you get engaged, the time is now.”

Does this rule keep the kid from danger? Does it teach positive character trait? Does it protect property? Does it teach the child responsibility? Does it teach good manners?

“The question is not do you love your children. The question is do your children feel loved?”

What if my children turned out to be like me? What if they handle anger the way I handle anger? Love spouse how I love? Drive a car the way I drive? Work with the same ethic? Talk to others? Handle conflicts? Respond to drugs or alcohol? Same quality relationship with God? Handle money? Treat in-laws? Treat their children?

“Children are far more influenced by our model than our words.”

“You won’t have any problem with your children forgiving you if you’re willing to apologize.”

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 4

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Dr. La Verne Tolbert – @drltolbert

Who is your most memorable teacher?

As we look to teach like Jesus, how do we exemplify the Christian character?

Do we have a relationship with those we are leading? Do we pay attention to their needs?

How well do we use the baptism and communion and the church calendar as teachable moments?

“Jesus was sensitive to time. Jesus had a scope and sequence to His teaching.”

Why is it that we only teach auditory?

“In John 3-4 Jesus ministers to Nicodemus and the woman at the well. The uttermost to the guttermost.”

“We must not be too busy that we cannot pray.”

“A church without children is a dying church.”

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Dr. Richard Ross – @richardaross

1/2 of kids leave the church, but what about the 1/2 that stay. Why?

“If we pay attention to those who stayed, it might cause us to change the perspective of why we do what we do.”

“Spiritually lethargic parents create spiritually lethargic kids. Spiritually alive parents produce spiritually alive kids.”

“Teenagers who leave High School with little love for the bride will eventually wander away from the Groom.”

“The goal of family ministry is families who love God, love people, and make dimples of all nations.”

We tried replacing parents with the professionals for 60 years. So how’s that going?

“Those kids who stay [in church] come out of homes with moms and dads who are spiritually alive.”

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Dr. Vern Bengtson –

“Data showed parents having substantial influence on their millennial children’s faith formation.”

“There are more years of shared lives between grandparents and grandchildren than any time before. Grandparents are influential.”

Should there be a singles group for 65 year olds? Widow support group? Session on facing death?

“Don’t forget the seniors. Most churches do.”

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Candace Payne – @candacepayne

“Joy is a byproduct of a deeper work, hope.”

“May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace that you may abound in all hope.

Jesus is our hope. It’s found in a person.”

“Stop doing ministry without God!

Stop working for God, without God.”

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

“There is a beauty in only depending on what the spirit can do.”

“We’ve got places to be, and the first one is in His presence.”

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Michael Bayne – @michael_bayne

“Why do pastors spend so much time day-dreaming about the future church and not focusing on their present church?”

“If your dreams for your future church are hijacking the passion for your current church, there might be a problem.”

“What God has entrusted you with is critically important.”

“You get no credit for the time you spend coveting another church.”

Have you ever seen God’s people not complain or the complain free church?

“Lead like you’ll be there forever because you are responsible forever.“

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Dr. Eddie Moody – @EdwardEMoodyJr

“We need to prepare our kids for bad things, for the storms of life.”

Psalm 46 “When the mountains are moved into the heart of the sea.” “If God says He will be there in this time than we should expect this time to come.”

“In the U.S. 5% of kids will have one parent die before the age of 16.”

“Acting like pain and suffering doesn’t happen doesn’t serve our children well. Equip them. They can handle it.”

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Dr. Timothy Paul Jones – @DrTimothyPJones

“If all you get is the kids, you won’t have the parents and then eventually you won’t have the kids either.”

“Provide every child a family in faith.”

“Make a phone call to say; thank you, can we pray for you, how can we pray for your child, and thank you!”

“You aren’t doing it for results, you are doing it because it’s right. Your goal is faithfulness. The results belong to God.”

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Joshua Straub – @joshuastraub

“I made a conscious decision that the pattern of divorce in my family would stop with me.”

“I didn’t need to be the pastor of a megachurch to reach thousands of people. I just needed to be a parent.”

“Prayer doesn’t just change the generations that go after us. Prayer changes the generations that go before us.”

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Michael Covington – @m_covington

Are you too comfortable in your church?

Are you lacking the results you desire from your message because the way you deliver it is too comfortable?

“Any ministry or organization that lacks a clear focus of message…may need to bring themselves back to that time when they were brand new.” Do you remember that time?

“The right tone at the right time is a grace delivery method.”

How can your words be gracious if they don’t have the right tone?

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Kristie Christie – @kristievos

Why do we believe that happiness comes when we get more?

“College students today are about 40% lower in empathy than their counterparts of 20 or 30 years ago, as measured by standard tests of this personality trait.”

How do we teach kids empathy? “Talk to your kids about life being hard.”

“People matter more than things. Our entitlement is not setting us free.”

Why does it matter what you choose? “Allow kids to feel the consequences of their actions as we walk beside them. They can make a big difference and they can make a big hurt.”

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Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell – @josh_mcdowell @Sean_McDowell

“When I started doing this…the dead sea was only sick.”

“God can use all of us regardless of our backgrounds.”

“If you really seek after truth, I believe you’ll find Jesus, ’cause he is truth”

“Don’t reject something because it’s the faith of your father. Reject something because it’s not true.”

“Pornography is the number one barrier to apologetics today.”

“The number one thing that causes a child to stay pure from sexual immorality was deep religious beliefs.”

“Rules without relationship leads to rejection.”

“Truth without relationships results in rejection.”

“Lord, never again, do I want to put my family before my ministry. My family is my first ministry.”

Why re-write this new book? “Truth never changes, but its critics do.”

 

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How to Recruit Lifetime Small Group Leaders

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Volunteer recruitment is most likely one of the hardest and most time-consuming aspects of your job. You never have enough helpers to get it all done, and when you are finally getting to that place of calm, someone asks if you have time to talk. What if you could walk over to the wide open back door and leave it only partially cracked? Imagine what it would be like to have a team of committed small group leaders instead of a mismatched group of babysitters. Sounds great, doesn’t it? What if most of your small group leaders actually served for years and years? What if they even considered themselves as lifetime volunteers? Let’s talk about how to recruit those kinds of volunteers. Here are a few basic principles to follow:

ENLIST TO A CALLING

Your job description can be found in Ephesians 4:12, “Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Your goal is to prepare your small group leaders to minister to the kids and their parents so the church will grow in wisdom and holiness. As you are building your teams, your goal is to intentionally join them together, so that they resemble the body of Christ, not Mr. Potato Head. When someone is willing to serve wherever needed and they are a gifted teacher, avoid the temptation of filling your worship leader vacant spot, and actually place them in a teaching role. Find their best fit. Get to know your team through a strong on-boarding process and solicit feedback during placement to verify they can see themselves serving in this capacity long term.

EXPLAIN WHY THEIR ROLE MATTERS

When you pressure small group leaders to serve out of guilt, your temporary motivation will only take them so far. Show them how the role of a small group leader is carrying out the great commission found in Mathew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Point to specific examples and show small group leaders how they are building the church and expanding the kingdom each and every week. Most people serving in the church can point back to a leader who showed up and influenced their spiritual journey. You have a group of influencers who are making a difference in the next generation, so take the time to remind them of this impact.

FOSTER A FAMILY CULTURE

Sundays can be challenging. It comes with the territory. After a long and difficult morning at church, it might be tempting for a volunteer to quit (who hasn’t been tempted to quit?). It’s easy to quit a position but it’s hard to leave a family. When you work to connect your team, the members of the team begin to work together and belong to one another. Romans 12:4-5 explains it like this, “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” Placing the right people in the right positions in an organization built around groups can help nourish this family culture.

MAKE FREQUENT AND INTENTIONAL INVESTMENTS

The secret recipe for keeping your long time volunteers around is to continue to show love to them by making deposits into their lives. Hebrews 10:25 challenges us saying, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Investment is not about giving your small group leader a five dollar coffee gift card, but sitting down with them around the coffee table. No longer is it about the small group leader simply showing up and doing okay but it’s increasing their abilities and equipping them to become engaging disciple makers. When you see small group leaders have a gifting beyond their current position, show them future next steps. And whenever you see a small group leader who needs a break, give them time off with an intentional plan to bring them back on the team.

In the last paragraph, of the last page of Jim Wideman’s book, Tweetable Leadership, he says, “Be a lover of God’s people. The ministry is all about relationships. People matter! I believe the time we spend empowering and encouraging people is never wasted.” For you to recruit lifetime small group leaders, you must enlist them to a calling that fits their gifting, connect them with one another, and continue to love them through intentional deposits in their lives.

(Originally posted to Children’s Ministry Online at http://childrensministryonline.com/how-to-recruit-lifetime-small-group-leaders/)

Dan Scott: Make the Tween Years a Bigger Deal

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Dan Scott: Make the Tween Years a Bigger Deal.
@danscott77

The role of music in Dan’s life and how he got there.

We get to work with kids and this will change the directory of their lives.

Something will happen during these years that will set them on a course.

What are we doing to make the moments huge to assist in the transition?

There is something happening in the life of a fifth grader that makes them think they are might be done with church.

What is a preteen?

No one agrees on this definition? Early onset of puberty. Not just physical but mental changes.

Today we are looking at the 10-12 years old. Just a Phase. A phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence a kid’s future.

In-between Phase – Physical changes – Growth spurts, puberty.

Mental changes:

Elementary kids think like a scientist. What if questions.

Concrete and literal thinkers.

“There is an Icecream store around the corner.” Thinking literal corner.

“Inviting Jesus into your heart.” Thinking, Ewwww.

Middle Schoolers think like engineers.

More abstract.

Paul saying always be joyful. Think about Paul being in prison. Think about the state of mind. Connecting ideas and concepts.

Magic age is 11. 5th grade spring semester. Don’t talk to them like kids. They are perceiving it like we talk down to them. Preteens think like scientists and engineers at the same time.

Changing Emotionally and Spiritually

Not always linear and sometimes the steps forward and one step back.

Elementary Students Provoke discovery: So they will…trust God’s character and experience God’s family. Like the proverbs. It doesn’t always work out like we thought. Principle vs dynamic truth.

Middle Schoolers: Provoke discovery. So they will…own their own faith and value a faith community.

Changing Culturally and Relationally:

Crisis in this 4-5 grade phase: Friendship- Do I have friends? Help them learn how to develop friendships. Emotionally hurt and made a concrete evaluation of that hurt. Because we are not getting along anymore we are not friends anymore. When parents argue, they are getting a divorce. When they miss a field goal they don’t think they can play anymore. They go to the concrete. Starting to realize they don’t like everyone and are not liked by everyone. Teach them how to be friendly even when they are not friends.

Crisis in 6th-grade phase: Puberty. Girls average age 10 and 11.5 boys. Who do I like? Who likes me? Gain stability. Hormones and emotions. Wrapped into their identity. The church should be a place where no matter what a child or middle schooler walks in and knows that someone likes them.

What should we do:

Engage: Their Interests

Affirm: Their Personal Journey

Engage the 4th/5th grades to let them know that what they like is cool. Not a time to be pessimistic. Engage them on their level.

Affirm the 6th grader in their personal journey. Let them know that we are in this together.

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The Preteen World
Pop Culture – They are now their own taste makers. I’m going to listen to my own music because I’m done with adult contemporary. They are getting into popular culture and popular culture is getting into them. They know more youtube stars than they know movie stars. Youtube, Spotify. We have to be careful about what they are being exposed to. Be careful and open. Just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Start with Rhett and Link and follow the rabbit trail to dude perfect. What social media are they looking into? Digital Natives growing up in a smart world. Speak to Siri and Alexa to find out anything they want to find out. They might not ask a parent about sex but they might ask Alexa.

Education –

Group projects. What people bring to the table can be frustrating. They are doing way higher level thinking than we were doing as kids.

Evaluation
Synthesis
Analysis
Application
Comprehension
Knowledge

From bottom to the top of the spectrum.

From what and when, to how, and then to why.

Help students wrestle with the content we are teaching them.

Evaluation: Take one thing and put it into the context of another. Move from Sunday to Monday.

Motivation and Currency

Fun Matters. They want to laugh and enjoy themselves.

Autonomy: Not absolute freedom but giving them three good choices and allow them to pick. They will own the learning process and it becomes their learning.

Friendship: Relationships are important. Consistent small groups matter. Programming will fade. They return week after week because of the friendship that the small groups cultivated in their circle. Relationships over time matters.

A Preteen Strategy
#1 Environments: When a child walks into this space for the first time their brain lights up. Week two they think it’s cool, week three they don’t notice. Nothing has changed but the brain recognizes it and they think they will hear and learn the same thing so they turn it off. Sometimes when kids don’t pay attention it’s their fault other times it’s our fault. Cue the brain that something is new so that it cues the brain. Help them personalize the space. Chalk wall. Plywood tables with markers. Help them create the environment. Continually changing the environment and they create it. Soft lighting, stage lighting. Focused attention on a certain spot. Get them by themselves as soon as possible. Ikea furniture, Ikea lamps, Xbox in the hallway. It doesn’t matter because it’s their space.

#2 Content: “I want them to go deep.” The definition isn’t more information but putting that information into a different context. Allow kids to wrestle. Ask the question. Let them wrestle with the answers to help them figure out what they need to do to make this week better and to make their faith grow. Wrestle, personalize, and do it in order to learn it.

#3 Large Group: Host and Storyteller. Entertainment and sermon. With preteen, there is a communicator. They look at the content through the lens of himself and it becomes a more personal and authentic talk. Storyteller is more like an actor where a Communicator is more of the pastor.
#4 Small Group: Attacking the question heads on. There are activities because discussion does not work for every preteen. Many preteens are not full abstract thinkers so they must start concrete before abstract. A hook the abstract thought.

#5 Home: Life with a preteen can be exhausting. Don’t want to talk on the drive in the car. Mom and dad need help because no one is prepared. We gloss over all the awkward in our own minds. Specific devotionals that they can do throughout the week. Take Sunday to a new place. Wrestle with faith skills. Prayer activity. Faith Talk. Bible Navigation. Worship with your life.

Transitions Matter!

Help parents with the transitions from elementary to adolescence.

Transition activities. Wanted in the next instead of kicked out of the current.

Students are literally stolen. Here’s a t-shirt, we are going to middle school.

We want those kids to feel wanted. Building anticipation is okay. Letting kids wait is okay. Don’t rush them to the next phase. 5th graders should not be with 8th graders, they are completely different beings. It’s dangerous and they can’t handle it. They will do anything to fit in.

SmarterKinderLouder.com/252Preteen

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Orange Tour Session Notes With Jon Acuff, Carlos Whittaker, and Reggie Joiner

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Jon Acuff: Be For Our Neighbors

@JonAcuff

Neighbors are Weird

In your neighborhood there are weirdoes. Now with technology, you know more about your neighbors. The Story of the neighbor who saw the UFO. That’s not even my weirdest neighbor. The neighbor who said that their cat has been kidnapped returned it and shave half of it. But she didn’t give all the info; which half?

Neighbors are Helpful

The story of the big black furry rat in the garage. Traps that kill them. Brown rat stuck in a trap. Jon tells his wife to get a broom. Did you know that rats can scream at you? Mrs. Lynn who takes care of it. That’s weird but that’s what a neighbor does.

For Our Neighbors:

For:

It’s a thousand drops in the bucket for when it matters most.

What if Christians were known for what they are for and not what they are against.

Our:

We are all in this tougher. It doesn’t have to be dramatic, it can be small. Watching your neighbors kids.

Neighbor:
It’s not the easy neighbors. Not those who have the same views as us. Jesus said to love our neighbors, not because it’s easy but because it’s hard. Dog Whisperer story. That’s who I have to be deliberate about.

It’s easy to hate an idea, it’s hard to hate an individual. When you know a real person it changes how you look at your neighbors.

92% of goals fail. As parents it’s hard. We think it will organically work in our family but it never happens. Finish.

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Carlos Whittaker: Look Past a Situation and Into the Story

@loswhit

Culture is different in Las Angeles than it is in Atlanta.

The story of his two daughters and adopted son.

His daughter is in kindergarten for four days and hides on Marta from the brown people. She had her entire life not seen the color of dad’s skin until someone told her to look at the color of skin. Look past a situation and into a story. If we are going to be for our neighbor that’s what we need to do.

The story of the good samaritan.

All 3 men saw the man but only one saw past a situation and into the story.

There is the potential in this room to help a generation see into the story.

For those we are leading we need to look past the situation and into their story. It gives permission for other’s to do just this.

Raise up a generation of good samaritans who look past a situation and into the story.

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Reggie Joiner: Stay Focused on What Matters Most

@reggiejoiner

When we look for the best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we are doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbors, we are participating in something sacred.” Mister Rogers

Sometimes we think Bible studies, worship, and prayer is sacred, but what if we decided that in our thinking about being for our neighbors was participating in something sacred.

Love the Lord your God with heart soul mind and strength and neighbor as yourself.

How we treat those around us is a sacred issue.

We want to measure our ministries, what are the yard sticks we put up to measure?

Challenge to change the year sticks. What generation are we leading? How do we measure that success?

As leaders, we have to be reminded of where the compass is. Sometimes we get so busy we lose sight of our north star.

Story: Moving in, Tom there waiting, can we call you the Rev, but then with hairline it became the pope. This man was completely different than Reggie. Maybe you want to do an easter egg hunt for my family. $1000 easter egg hunt. Asked Reggie, “Do you ever pray at parties?” Kegger party. The Pope is here and we are going to pray. Tom was crying and said that he wanted to be Reggie’s best friend. Next day, next week, and next month the relationship was different. Don’t know why and can’t explain it but something happened at that party. Showed up in his world and the question’s changed. He started talking about real life. The relationship went to a different play. The power and potential that a party has in relationships when you go the extra mile for your neighbors. Sometimes it takes a party. If he had never gone to the party, the relationship wouldn’t have happened. Tom taught Reggie, what it means to be a neighbor.

Sometimes it takes a party…to CHANGE how we SEE each other.

Party- Any effort to CELEBRATE, SERVE, or ENJOY each other in ways that adds value to life.

Christianity is more like a party than a class. We need to invite a generation to have a different experience than what we’ve been doing.

In the New Testament we see that Jesus likes a party. Was accused of all kinds of things, told stories about parties, compared eternity to the party, first miracle.

Sometimes it takes a party…to DEMONSTRATE that God CARES about people who party.

The prodigal son.

Sometimes it takes a party…to CONFIRM that we can always be FORGIVEN.

Sometimes it takes a party…To prove that people MATTER MORE than our opinions

Tax collectors house

Jesus tells the story about the rich man throwing a party and the VIP list people are getting ready to come. Send out invitations. There is a twist. Rich guy opens the invitation to everyone and anyone. Sends messages into the street to invite. Jesus changed the rules and gave an identity crisis.

Sometimes it takes a party…to remind us all that EVERYONE is INVITED to the party.

The basis of our faith. Everyone is invited. This one concept and idea show change how we do ministry and how we see each other. What if we started acting like everyone was invited.

An important time in history. Where the church should lead the way to say to a generation behind us that everyone is invited to the party. The gospel does not segregate us, it integrates us. The reason the generation is dissolution with the church is because of the history of marginalizing and discrimination and isolation. We’re so much better at debating the gospel than we are at demonstrating the gospel. They are watching how we treat those around us. There is coming a day when we will be in the same room at the same table because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here’s the point. If we are going to be intentional about inviting a generation to the table, it starts with us. This can be contagious and have a ripple eggiest through the generations.

If you would start thinking in terms of inviting others to the party and inviting yourself to the party of those who are different than you, something will happen to you. Move out of stagnation.

DO SOMETHING you don’t have to do.

Suppose someone forces you to go one mile. Go two miles with them.” Jesus

By law, the Jewish boy had to carry gear of a Roman soldier for a mile. Imagine a 12-13-year-old boy actually does this. On the second mile, the conversation changes. The relationship begins to change. Mile one fulfilled an obligation. Mile two changed the nature of their relationship. When we do ministry, as usual, we do what is obligated. Something happens in your ministry when you go the second mile. Because of one step from mile one to mile two. Wonder why you aren’t motivated or don’t have passion. When you invite them to this kind of experience it changes everything. What have you done that you didn’t have to do? What have you done that you weren’t obligated to do? Busy doing everything you have to do so stop and do something you don’t have to do. Volunteer. This is what happens, it changes you in ways you never imagined. You care about things you never cared about before. Care about what time DQ closes, who is on the education board, about what the pastor in the town is struggling with. You care because where you invest your treasure your heart follows. You don’t get a burden and go do something. You get this generation to do something they have never done before and they will get a burden for this new thing.

Do something because…If you do you feel something deeper, you tap into something sacred, you experience a radical type of love. We are called to invite a generation to step over the line and go the extra mile for the party. God has called you to some important things.

 

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Back to School Big Focus: Begin With the End in Mind

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As you enter the new school year, the energy and excitement within your ministry will begin to build. Students are back from vacation, getting into a regular routine, and pulling into your church parking lot by the droves. But how do you take advantage of this season to create lasting impact in the lives of your students? Take a step back right now to get a big focus on why you do what you do.

In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey challenges readers to begin with the end in mind. As schools are starting back and as ministries are kicking off, there are a few things we must do to truly begin with the end in mind.

FIRST, KNOW WHERE YOU WANT TO END UP.

You need clarity around the purpose of your ministry. Why do you exist? What do you want students to know, do or be as they graduate from the program? What is your pastor’s vision for your ministry? Stop thinking just numerical growth and more chairs filled, but at the end of this school year what does it look like to win? As you are beginning with the end in mind and setting goals, ask yourself if your goals are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound)?

NEXT, KNOW WHERE YOU ARE STARTING FROM.

You might be guilty of looking at your ministry through rose colored glasses. Maybe it’s because you are assuming the best, or maybe it’s just blind optimism but you must have an accurate assessment of where you are starting from. What is the true spiritual climate of your group? What are your actual attendance patterns? Do you have enough leaders connected with the students relationally to get to the end that you have in mind? Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding and remember what it says in James 1:5,

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

FINALLY, KNOW THE DIRECTION YOU NEED TO TAKE TO GET THERE. 

Now that you know where you want to end up and you know where you are starting from, you need to chart the course to get there. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said,

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

It’s not enough to think of the end that you have in mind, you must begin the work to get there. What do you need to be doing quarterly, monthly, weekly or daily to bridge the gap between your start and end? Who do you need to bring on your team, what tasks do you need to delegate and how do you need to communicate the mission to get the ball rolling?

Proverbs 16:9 offers wisdom where it says,

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.”

In all things remember that your primary goal is to follow God and allow Him to guide your steps. As you move into this season and begin with the end in mind, remember the incredible call that God has placed on your life and thank Him for being a God who guides you along the way.

(Originally posted the Youth Specialties blog at: https://youthspecialties.com/blog/back-school-big-focus-begin-end-mind/)

9 Delightful Ways to Wrap up Your Summer

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You’re busy. You don’t want another to do list item to add to your ever growing checklist. But at the same time, I imagine you don’t want to miss out on low hanging fruit to propel the ministry forward. As the summer is winding down there are a few things that you can do to simply end on a good note. Here are nine delightful ways to wrap up your summer but feel free to write one or two of them down that will give you the most bang for your buck.

RELATIONALLY

Take a minute and pull out your phone to make a personalized video message to some of your student leaders. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just hit record, greet them by name, share a fun memory from the summer, and thank them for being a part of the church. Tap send and know that this might just make their day.

SPIRITUALLY

Set aside an hour on your calendar and find a quiet place to hang your Eno. Spend the hour talking with God about your summer. This quiet time can be full of appreciation for the past and seek wisdom for what lies ahead. Maybe even block off a little time for rest or just be still and know that He is God.

PHYSICALLY

Walk with a purpose. Connect with someone who you have not been able to see in a while and walk around the park. Or maybe go scout out a new retreat center or event location and walk around picturing what could be. Or maybe just walk boxes of accumulated junk out of your office and into the trash.

DIGITALLY

Take a few minutes and look through the photos on your phone. Post some of the summer memories to social media and remind your students and leaders of what you learned while you were away at camp or on that missions trip. Follow up with students who you recognize from the pictures but haven’t seen in a while and let them know you hope to see them at your kickoff event or in the lunchroom at their school.

MENTALLY

Take some time to simply think. Ask yourself these questions and take a few minutes to brainstorm the answers. Who are the future leaders for the ministry? What do you need to do to better equip your student leaders? Are you keeping your priorities in check? Why did God place you in this ministry and for what purpose? How will you continue moving forward to the goal God has set before you?

SOCIALLY

Connect with your loved ones, socialize with friends and maybe even consider leaving your phone in the car when you go to your next social gathering. Giving the gift of presence is good both for you and those you are spending time with.

ENVIRONMENTALLY

How is your workspace? Take some time to clean up your work environments. Clean off your desk and move all paperwork to either a file, the trash or delegate it to someone else to work on. If you have a youth space, walk through that environment and try to see the room with fresh eyes. Do the table tennis paddles need to be replaced? Are old signs still on the walls? Clean up that space so that you are ready to welcome new visitors to a clean room.

INTELLECTUALLY

Finish that book. You know, the one you started a while ago but set down and forgot all about. Pick it up again, scan through your underlines as a refresher, and continue working through the pages. You never know, finishing that book might be all the motivation you need to start another.

FINANCIALLY

Sorry to use “The B Word” here but how is your budget? This post is about fun, so let me ask, do you have leftover money in budget categories that you can use to set up next summer well? For example, if you have leftover camp budget money, could you use that leftover to send thank you’s to your workers or could you get something to remind the students of their experience or commitment?

Don’t let the next minute go by without making a plan. Instead of adding one of these to your to do list, why not simply make one happen? The summer will be gone before you know it so let’s wrap up on a good note.

(Originally posted the Youth Specialties blog at: https://youthspecialties.com/blog/9-delightful-ways-wrap-summer/)

 

Are You Accepting These Gifts from Christ?

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Have you ever given someone a gift they truly appreciated? You see their eyes light up with excitement, they wonder if it is truly theirs, and their heart is full of gratitude.

Or maybe, you’ve seen the opposite to be true. You find the “perfect” gift for your loved one, but then realize you were far more excited about the gift than the person to whom you gave the present.

We would all rather the person receiving the gift genuinely appreciate and love it. I imagine this was how Jesus felt when He met Zaccheus and offered Him multiple gifts. We must be like Zaccheus and accept the gifts Jesus generously gives.

The Gift of Acknowledgment In Luke 19, we see that Zaccheus climbed the tree to get a better view of Jesus. As Jesus came to the tree, He greeted him by name, acknowledging him despite his reputation. On his own, Zaccheus would have just been another member of the crowd, but with Jesus’ gift of acknowledgment, everything began to change for him. Being recognized by the Great Teacher by name would have truly been a gift! Dale Carnegie is credited saying, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Most likely today, Jesus won’t walk by your workplace calling out your name, but remember what Jesus said in Luke 12:7, “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.” Accept the gift that Jesus is giving you of knowing you personally.

The Gift of Presence In Luke 19:5, Zaccheus comes down the tree and stands face to face with Jesus. Jesus doesn’t treat Zaccheus like a sinner but rather invites Himself over for a meal. When Jesus gives Zaccheus the gift of presence, Zaccheus graciously accepts with excitement and joy. This companionship causes the people to grumble, but Jesus still gives the gift of presence to the outcast.

Today we can be a friend of Jesus and accept His gift of presence by simply keeping spending time with Him a priority. Add appointments to your calendar to spend time with God just like you would with a friend. Set reminders to refocus throughout the day and attend a church where you can really be ushered into the presence of God.

The Gift of Grace Right after Zaccheus repents from cheating people on their taxes, Jesus gives him the gift of grace. Grace is an unearned gift that costs the giver and shows God’s love. There is nothing that Zaccheus could have done on his own to earn this gift. Even if he would have given back 10 times or 100 times the amount he had stolen, he would have still been found guilty of being a thief. Jesus forgave Zaccheus and gave him the same gift of grace that He offers to us today.

Isaiah 64:6 describes us saying, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” On our own, we can never pay back the debt that we owe, but when we accept the gift of grace that Jesus offers us, everything changes.

All of Zaccheus efforts weren’t able to accomplish his own salvation, it was only through the gifts that Jesus freely offered him. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Ultimately, Jesus had to come to Zaccheus’ house for his life to change. Today we must come before the Savior and through His gifts, our life will never be the same.