4 Stories of Messy Leadership (And Why You Need It)

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There was a time in your life when someone gave you the opportunity to try what you are currently doing. Maybe they saw a glimmer of hope or maybe you just asked to help, but someone opened the door to messy leadership and allowed you the opportunity to fail. In Tweetable Leadership, Jim Wideman writes, “Most people forget they haven’t always been able to do what they are able to do now. Someone let you sorry all over a group of people and get better. You need to return the favor and believe in others.”

In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” And in the very next verse, Jesus sent out the twelve disciples to begin doing ministry. These disciples might not have appeared fully ready to lead but Jesus uses broken people to fulfill His mission. When you embrace messy leadership, you are giving broken people a chance to answer God’s call on their life. We must give our volunteers the same chance we were given even if, in our eyes, they might not appear ready.

Embrace The Rookie

When the rookie walks up to you and asks how he can begin serving on your team, embrace his eager heart. He might be learning the stories for the first time as he prepares each week, which means he will have fresh insight. He might be nervous to pray for the first time in front of the group, which will remind you how many in the room might be feeling the same fear. And even though the rookie might start out as a door greeter, maybe one day down the road he will be leading this ministry. When a new volunteer begins serving on your team they can help open your eyes to how a visitor experiences church for the first time. Solicit feedback and give the rookie opportunities to shed a fresh perspective on your ministry.

Encourage The Nervous

Most people list public speaking as their number one fear. When someone builds up the courage to take the stage, find ways to praise all the things they did right. Eventually, the nervous worship leader will loosen up and their gifting will shine through. The nervous teacher who becomes too deep and begins saying words like “millennial dispensationalism” may eventually relax and teach so that kindergarteners actually understand. The first time these fears take over don’t criticize or belittle your nervous leader, instead, point out what they did well and give them a few tips on how to improve. Soon, you will have a team of leaders, all functioning within their own gifting, which will allow you to do the things only you can do.

Equip The Busy

Maybe you have a CEO on your team who can only give two hours a week or maybe it’s a teenager who is trying to balance school, sports, and a part time job. When you are trying to equip the busy, things might get messy because your CEO might not lead the way you had in mind and the high schooler might bring a little too much chaos to the small group. Just because people are busy doesn’t mean you don’t have a place for them to use their gifts to build the kingdom. When you equip the busy teammates, you find ways to fit ministry into their schedules. You might need to tweak expectations or communicate in a different mode but when your busy volunteers are equipped they can bring a high level of professionalism or maybe a needed shot of energy into your ministry.

Empower The Unique

When an overzealous rockstar is looking for a place to serve, it might get messy, but you should bring him on your team. This rockstar might be too much for the adult worship service but he might be just what you are looking for with the kids. The class clown might be a distraction in Sunday school but when you put him in a costume and give him a purpose, he might just become the perfect host. And the tech genius who works behind the scenes to make sure things are running smoothly might not ever teach a lesson on the stage, but if you empower him to lead your sound booth you might help him find a great fit for his gifting. When you look at their gifting and give the unique a chance to lead, you can make the church actually look like the full body of Christ.

Jesus is in the business of using messy people to accomplish His great work. Let’s do our part of embracing, encouraging, equipping, and empowering the church to reach the next generation.

(Originally shared on the D6 Blog at http://d6family.com/4-stories-messy-leadership-need/)

Spiritual Adulthood: How old are you spiritually?

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If your pastor looked you in the eyes and asked you this question, how would you answer? “How old are you spiritually?” I believe we would all like to say that we are further down the road then we were last year but how much have we really grown? Have we spiritually grown up from a crawling infant to a toddler? Are we confidently walking like a kindergartener? Has our relationship with God matured past the acquaintance phase to a friend? Could we define the relationship as best friend? Are we still battling the same temptations and losing or are we growing stronger in living in the Spirit?

Today, I simply want to leave you with a few scripture passages for reflection. I’m asking God to use His Word in a powerful way to help you reflect and grow.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11

Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:11-14

Book Review & 5 Book Giveaway: The Red Book by Mark Harper

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Have you ever read a book in a single sitting? Highlighting page after page, writing notes in the margin, and dog-earing pages you will need to work through later. This was my experience with Mark Harper’s new book, The Red Book, and I would add this book to every children’s ministry worker’s must read list.

With 45 mini-chapters, The Red Book offers fresh insights into volunteer recruitment, helping kids take their next steps in faith, time management, partnering with parents, and core children’s ministry leadership. Each chapter is soaking with God’s Word, reflective questions, and practical advice.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“Many of our kids are great video-game evangelists. When they play a game that they like, they tell a friend.”

“If they (kids) can’t find a positive way to use their leadership, they will find a negative way to use their gift.”

“The kids that attend church weekly are stronger Christians.”

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of any kidmin program. I can survive without money, but I cannot survive without volunteers.”

“If you see a problem, come to your pastor with several solutions. Pastors like multiple-choice tests.”

In my favorite chapter, “How Come Kids Don’t Read the Bible?” Mark writes, “One day I asked for a show of hands, ‘How many of you read the Bible or have your parents read it to you every day?’ Out of 200 kids in my class, 30 hands went up. This was not good news. When I am having an 85 percent-failure rate, I can’t blame the kids; it’s a leadership issue.”

If you want to learn from Mark’s 35 years of ministry experience, pick up a copy of The Red Book! Mark has graciously offered to give away 5 copies through my blog so simply comment below to be entered to win!

The contest has just ended and winners are being notified right now. Congratulations and enjoy the book!

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Are You Working Willingly As If For God?

What is your favorite scripture passage in all of the Bible? Maybe you think of the famous verse, John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Or maybe you learned Proverbs 3:5 growing up, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” 

Of the 31,102 verses found in the Bible, I would have to say one of my favorites is found in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” We are not living for this world and we need to be prepared for opportunities to serve God through serving others. We must pray and live intentionally with our focus on living for God. Let’s break down Colossians 3:23 to help us grow in our walk with the Lord.

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Work willingly: Our work, or whatever we commit our time and energy towards, needs to flow out of a willingness to serve the Lord. When we sit down at the desk or show up at the counter to begin our shift, we need to have the attitude of an eager servant. We need to work not begrudgingly or with half effort, but as an act of worship. 

At whatever you do: Not just in your nine to five, but in everything your hand finds to do, serve God. Whatever you make, bring forth, commit to, or engage in, ask yourself if it is glorifying God. On both your cheerful days and the days when you are feeling your worst, in everything honor God.

As though you were working for the Lord: If you work for an angry boss or a lazy business owner then you might be tempted to slack off when the work gets hard. The primary focus of our work should not be a paycheck or a raise, but honoring God. With the mindset of serving our ultimate “Boss,” we will see our motivations and work ethic in a completely different model. 

Rather than for people: The reason for our behavior and attitude should not be found in pleasing others, but ultimately in pleasing the Lord. Paul put it best in Galatians 1:10 when he wrote, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” The compelling force behind our work in both the big and small needs to be found in honoring God more than people. 

Take a minute before you click out of this post to reflect on your day so far. Have you been a willing worker? In everything, is your attitude glorying God? Are you striving to please the Lord in your work more than other people? You’ve got this! Repent, and start again.

How To Host A Simple Turf War For Your KidMin 

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This past week our preteens made lasting memories as they enjoyed pizza, funnoodles, and small group shenanigans during our Turf War. This annual event draws a crowd as each small group is battling to get the first pick on their small group rooms. While the activity itself is different each year, the Turf War promotes small group ministry, builds strong teams, and involves a lot of friendly competition. Here are a few steps to help you host a simple Turf War for your kids ministry.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

You don’t need to have all the details outlined to begin planning but a great place to start is by simply marking the date on your calendar. This gives you a goal to aim for and the deadline to make it happen. If you’re like me, great ideas don’t happen until you write them down.

ENLIST SMALL GROUP LEADERS

Explain to your small group leaders why you are hosting this event. Is your goal to grow numerically? Do you want to build camaraderie on your existing teams? Are you looking for something fun for small groups to do together? Determine why you would like to host this event and make sure your team understands the purpose.

BUILD EXCITEMENT

After you have your small group leaders on board you need to get the kids excited. For our Turf War, the preteens were excited to compete for their rooms. Those who earned great rooms the previous year wanted to defend their turf while new small groups wanted to get in on the action. We assigned team colors and asked the kids to represent their teams well. By the time the week arrived the students were boldly wearing the color’s and bringing friends to build their team’s depth.

LINE UP THE DETAILS

Now is the hard part that may require a lot of work your first year. Create your plan and your backup plan because let’s be honest, it never goes exactly how we think it should. Schedule out how much time it will take to eat, what your transitions will look like, who needs to be where and when, and how much food these preteens are going to devour! Think through details like how you will determine a winner, what to do if there is a tie, and who will treat injuries.

DETERMINE YOUR GAME

Each of our Turf War events has a different game and competition. Last year we hosted a multiple team capture the flag type battle where each team was protecting their turf while also trying to get materials from their opponents. This year, we hosted olympic type competitions that revolved around funnoodles. I will attach a PDF with more info to this post if you want to read more about this year’s battle.

LEAD OR ASSIGN LEADERS

When the event comes, it will make things run smoother if your team can look to the leader. If this is you, practice what you need to say, and know the rules. If you are assigning leaders, make sure they have clear job descriptions and expectations. Nothing frustrates kids more than when games fall apart or are perceived as unfair. Know how you are going to handle situations when they arrive and be prepared to take on the responsibility.

Hosting a Turf War type event can be a great opportunity to connect your students and their small group leaders. If you have an idea for the game we could do next year leave it in the comments. If you have any questions about hosting a Turf War, just let me know!

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Are You An Expert Thermometer Or Helpful Thermostat? 

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Do you ever find yourself pointing to problems more than solutions? At work, are your responding to what happens or are your regulating what takes place? On your team, do you measure the climate or do you find opportunities to adjust to a new level? These are questions to see if you are an expert thermometer or helpful thermostat.

An expert thermometer is a passive attendee that measures and reflects the climate around itself. When the climate shifts, there will be a response in the thermometer but this response is a direct reflection of the surroundings. An expert thermometer can walk into a room and see genuine issues that need to be addressed but will often talk about these issues rather than fixing them.

A helpful thermostat is an active participate that reacts to and regulates the climate around itself. When the climate shifts, the thermostat responds and then will adjust the surrounding to an appropriate level. A helpful thermostat can walk into a room and see genuine issues that need to be addressed and will work hard to make the needed changes to correct the issue.

It is important to understand the culture you find yourself in but the most successful people challenge the culture to a higher standard. It’s not enough to just read the room, you must own the issue and act on what needs to be changed. Both the thermometer and thermostat start with the same perspective but the bottom line difference is where one simply reads the room the other does what’s necessary to make things right.

So how do you compare? Have you found that people and situations determine your temperature? Do you focus on what’s wrong around you, or do you make changes and influence the climate? Will you be influenced or will you make the change?

James 4:17 says, “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Today, break through the monotony and take your first steps to becoming a helpful thermostat.

How To Make Sunday Better Impact Monday Afternoon

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Does your Sunday lesson impact Monday afternoon? Is the time you are investing in Sunday morning paying dividends throughout the week? The Orange Conference is where 8000 leaders gather in person to discover how to make what they do on Sunday matter more on Monday. This year’s conference will be brought to 19 cities across the United States and you have the opportunity to get your entire team to the event!

Getting your entire team on the same page is important! When you experience fresh insight and new ideas together it creates a team synergy that is powerful and lasts week after week. You can bring more of your team by registering on opening day, June 9th. Save $50 per person for one day only! www.OrangeTour.org #ThinkOrange

I will be at the first tour stop in Atlanta! Which city is closest to you?

ATLANTA, GA – 9.9.16

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – 9.13.16

SEATTLE, WA – 9.16.16

IRVINE, CA – 9.20-9.21.16

DENVER, CO – 9.23.16

LANCASTER, PA – 9.27.16

BOSTON, MA – 9.30.16

RICHMOND, VA – 9.30.16

DETROIT, MI – 10.11.16

MORGANTOWN, WV – 10.11.16

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – 10.14.16

KANSAS CITY, KS – 10.18.16

HATTIESBURG, MS – 10.18.16

MEMPHIS, TN – 10.21.16

AUSTIN, TX – 10.25.16

DALLAS, TX – 10.28.16

DAVENPORT, IA – 11.2.16

CHARLOTTE, NC – 11.4.16

OCALA, FL – 11.11.16

#OT16 #Orange #ThinkOrange #KidMin #FamMin #ChurchStrategy #MinistryEvent