Friday, January 11, 2013

Shake it up!

Ah, it's the new year! Are you gearing up for an amazing 2013? Planning your events, lessons, crafts, and staffing those rooms? If you are a children's ministry leader, I probably just described the last two weeks for you. That sweet moment that Christmas is over, a big exhale, and off we go!

Someone once told me "ministry isn't for wimps", and it's so true. We need to be constantly seeking the direction of Jesus, staying current in trends and culture so what we do is relevant and appealing to the kids, all the while maintaining the safety policies and procedures for handling these little ones. And don't forget the main thing, teaching these amazing little ones who Jesus is and how to develop a relationship with Him.

It's so easy to develop a highly organized task list, and be so caught up in ministry, that we forget to minister. Even scarier, it's quite as easy to be doing the work of God and completely put Him on mute during it. Kind of like that parent who "helps" their child with the school project. (guilty) We run ahead and do things the way we want them done, to our standards, all the while our child is there but has no active role.

I believe in these moments of ministry that we run ahead, God patiently sits back and waits. Personally, I have had several moments where something that I perceived as great or done well, becomes mind blowing when I just let God take over and make Him the center of it. While these points may be very elementary for those of us in ministry, it's amazing how easy it is to let them run on auto pilot and lose focus.

I challenge you (and me) to take a look at our year ahead. What are we putting on the calendar and doing, just because it's routine? Don't get me wrong, routine is great! There is a need for familiarity and consistency, but there is a hunger from our kids and families for depth. Small adjustments to what you do well can entirely transform. I'm not talking about a complete overhaul, just simple modifications.

I love Luke 6:38 - "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

This is talking about giving, our ministry is to be giving of ourselves. If we are pressing down, shakin' it up, (packin' a little more Jesus in) and giving, I do believe our ministries will be running over. The greek concordance refers to "shaken"  as a topple or tossing, causing small refinement! So as you enter the new year, shake it up and press it down before you give it!

 Here are a few tips I have found to be helpful for keeping it shaken:

  • Personal relationship time with Jesus. (you need to talk to Him to get His direction)
  • Personal study time (aside from lesson preparation)
  • ENDORPHINS! - ok it sounds better than exercise. Creativity sparks when you are doing mind clearing activities. And we are a tool to be used by God, you wouldn't give Him an unsharpened pencil to write your story would you?
Once these are in place, praying about your current projects and their direction will be key. I believe this is where refinement arrives. Each year I vow to tweak 3 things about every traditional project I have. It keeps it shaken up, and ever changing without a scary "all at once" change. Most people who love tradition never even notice it evolving. 

Three points I use for that adjustment are:

1. Spiritual value - a small adjustment that connects people to Jesus (while it may already exist, it can be improved)
2. Relational value - a small adjustment that can connect people
2. Current trends - let's face it, times are changing. Keeping current is important.

Have a great year, I would love to hear how you're shakin' it up!

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