As leaders we are all trying to be good stewards and conserve our ministry budgets, right?
This morning I received an email with a link to order a free DVD. It truly is free, no shipping, no handling, and you don't even have to subscribe if you don't want to. The best part is you CAN donate if you like. You can aslo opt to send a DVD in a foreign language to places it's needed.
Check it out. I have not seen it myself, but the website and preview seems to be high quality and very well done.
This morning was an exceptionally cold morning for this California girl. The temperature was 40 degrees with a planned high of 66. Yes, that’s freezing for us! As I headed downstairs, dawned in sweats, I grabbed my robe and threw it on, and jackpot! A crisp ten dollar bill in the pocket! I know every adult has experienced this, finding a five in the laundry, a ten in a coat pocket, or even a twenty in the abyss we women call a purse. It’s exciting! However, in the moment we are completely thrilled about this free money, and we forget it was ours in the first place. While it was a fun surprise, I couldn’t help but wonder, where did I think it went? That ten dollar bill was useful funds I had been blessed with; did I even notice it was gone? I can answer that. Nope! I had completely forgotten about it.
This made me think of other resources like food, energy, time and the gifts we have been entrusted to manage that belong to our heavenly father. This of course led to ministry thoughts.
Starting in 1995 my husband and I moved into the parsonage of a small Free Will Baptist Church, and started full time ministry. On our first Sunday I noticed there wasn’t one child in attendance. Later that week I did some self guided tours of the small campus that consisted of two large buildings and made quite the discovery. Classrooms! They were there, had crayons, little chairs, little tables and flannel boards that were as old as I was. The church was a small country church, and had a general budget, but no children’s ministry budget. Over the course of a year, God placed the right people in my path to start a fully functional children’s ministry and that saw about 45 consistent children. Thanks to creativity, we were able to survive a whole year with little requested for money from the general budget. I truly believe this was training for the day when I would have to maintain a Children’s Ministry budget.
Do you ever find lost money in your ministry coat pocket? I bet you have tons of it lying around. In the world of children’s ministry, things like glitter and glue are currency. And craft kits, serious cash! I am now in a ministry with a fully functional budget and a three story building that is packed with kids! This last year I took some time to “audit” our use of the budget. (Yes, I am a math nerd. See last post.) I noticed that we spent quite a bit on craft kits, but never used them all, crayons that were replaced when they simply looked bad, and glue sticks that weren’t used, but had dried out. And then I ran across a quote by Oswald Chambers…
“Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have.” – Oswald Chambers
Thank you Oswald! How much more could I be doing with my ministry if I was really in this mindset? So rather than cut off spending, I had my team do the following things, it’s proved to conserve our budget, help local and foreign churches, and teach our kids a little lesson on stewardship.
Every quarter I ask my team to do the following:
·Take inventory – Collect the leftover craft kits, the broken crayons and the excess curriculum.
· Donate – Leftover curriculum is pure gold to foreign missions. We always have someone going overseas, and when they do, sending them with tools to take to the kids is awesome.
· Plan – All those mismatched crafts can be used. Almost every park outreach we do consists of a craft table. Rather than buy more, we have opted to use what’s on hand. This is also a great opportunity that your ministry kids can be involved in since they’ve done the crafts before.
· Evaluate – Why do we have abundance? Some is okay, but to simplify future orders is key.
· Manage – Remember the glue sticks? We now keep them in Ziploc bags to prevent drying out. Some items are a must, so finding ways to preserve them is important.
· Bless – Is there a significant amount of something we can share? Like donating a boxed curriculum that can be reused to a church with no kid’s budget? Yes!
Whether you are on a small budget, no budget, or a mega budget, our resources are God’s, and He cares about how we use them. How we manage them shows how we as leaders value them. I would love to be accused of “Giving God the best of what He has given me”. So leaders, go snoop around and see what you find. I bet you find gads of cash in your kid’s ministry cabinets!
Wait! The broken crayons! Yes, they should be rescued! Remember putting crayon shavings between waxed paper as a kid to make sun catchers? Perfect summer day camp project!
Heidi M Hensley
“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – CS Lewis
This quote alone makes me think she (Eleanor) and I would have gotten along
well. Eleanor's story has always fascinated me. She was orphaned at the age of
10 and sent away to school to help her "come out of her shell". She
endured an ill husband, the death of her parents, and the death of a child, yet
was still strong enough to change the role of the first lady. She was feisty,
and wanted to make a difference.
As I have read more about her, I can't help but come to the conclusion that
a desire to be challenged and constantly be learning helped make her who she was.
I desire this kind of momentum. The hunger to constantly be learning and
moving forward while being in the safe walls of God's will. It's that funky
balance of things flying by, life moving fast, but being able to see things
through the eyes of Christ. Like snorkeling! You know, the waves are crashing,
wind blowing, but when you are all in the water it's a calm beautiful picture.
Nothing changed, other than your view.
Three years ago I injured my neck to the point that use of my right arm
became questionable. I was a wife, young mother of two, very active, and a
children's director. I allowed this injury to knock me down, both physically
and spiritually. I was unable to sit in my desk without pain and couldn't hold
any of my ministry babies since my right hand was useless. I started to
question just about everything I knew about myself and at one point, even my
calling. Craig Jutila has said "sometimes God puts us on our back, so we
have to look up". This was definitely a flat on my back moment. Over the
course of the next 18 months of physical therapy, and every other kind of neuro
treatment, (there is some weird stuff out there! let's just say electricity was
involved) I was able to slowly regain use, and most of the strength of my right
arm and hand. Giving this to God was the only way I can explain the healing I
received for what I was told only surgery could fix.
I have a new appreciation for this body God has given me to do His work. And
a new commitment to make sure it's taken care of so I can do just that!
The next March, sitting in the courtyard at C.P.C. (Children's Pastor's
Conference, it's fierce! You should go!) I was reading my Bible desperately
trying to discover where God wanted me. I remember sitting there and asking,
like I had for months, where I needed to be. I assumed that God wanted my
attention and I must be in the wrong place. Well I wasn't, actually I was in
the right place all along. However just like that snorkeling bit from earlier,
I had my head up in the crashing waves, trying to control it all myself. I
wasn't until I gave it all to God that I could see clearly. I remember sitting
there and having this moment of clarity and relief. I love ministering to kids,
to families and to the adults I serve with. I couldn't imagine being moved from
that, even though I would if He said go. Just like losing access to my hand for
a bit gave me a new appreciation for the physical, the idea of not ministering
like I do gave me a new passion for the spiritual. I went home from that
conference with a renewed passion for what God has called me to do, and more
excitement than ever to do it with.
So the picture above, what does lifting have to do with this blog? Well, I
am a creature of comfort and habit, but also a lover of challenge. Once my
doctor said "okay, you may exercise" my husband and I looked for a
new plan. I had gained 80 pounds with said injury, and I needed it gone! We
decided to try a new workout and recently took on the terrifying experience of
actually participating in a crossfit competition. I learned to lift properly,
something totally out of my element, but it made me stronger and showed me how
mentally strong I could be. Jason and I have both dropped about 80 pounds each
and are getting hands on with developing an active family ministry.
2012 at CPC
Stealing unattended VBS supplies of course
Lifting weights is one of my daily "something terrifying"
activities. It makes me stronger, keeps me physically in shape to keep up with
ministry, and it is a huge release of stress. It also has become something we do
as a family and is strengthening our marriage.
So exactly one year later, as I sit here at the end of C.P.C., again
thrilled and recharged for ministry. I encourage you to learn something new
every day, find a physical form of release and try something out of your
element. God has big plans for us, and we need to be able to keep up!