I received the following e-mail recently, and it’s a question and request I get often. I wanted to post my answer to her here so that it might encourage others as well. As I know her struggle is not an uncommon one.
Karl, I need your help. I want to be in paid ministry and I have been volunteering and the church I am working with says “we can’t believe you don’t have a job yet…you are perfect for this.” I am frustrated because ministering to kids and helping them discover the wonderful truths of the Bible is my passion. “Here I am! Send me!”
If I get back responses from my resume, I hear mostly that I don’t have enough experience. I do have quite a bit of volunteer experience and did my internship with a children’s minister, but the necessity for me to have a full time job now to support my daughter and I makes it difficult for me to put in another 20 hours a week at a church volunteering as a CM. So how do I both support my family AND get more experience?
I am seeing walls up everywhere I turn and am curious if you could punch a few holes through for me.
I hear you and I feel your frustration. How are you supposed to get experience, if no one will give you the opportunity to GET experience by taking a chance with you? It’s the age-old challenge – people want someone with experience, but how do you get experience if no one will hire you?
There is no easy answer, but part of the answer is to trust God and, listen to Him, and keep at it. Look for a church that isn’t as picky. Churches that can be picky usually DO need someone with experience as the job is larger and therefore harder. Smaller ministries that aren’t as picky, often are easier and better places to learn anyway. It may be that you’ll need to do something else while volunteering for a while to gain some experience, or work part time at a church that has less requirements while working part time somewhere else. I know that’s tough, but it is a start.
In the end, take it to God, and be willing to follow the leads and opportunities He opens up for you. They may not be what you want early on, but if you are faithful, available and teachable – in time, they will lead you to what you desire. You know Prov. 3:5-6 and Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 37:4 – now is the time to lean on those and LIVE those, and watch what God does.
I know those words are easier said than lived, but I’m one who has lived them. I’ve had the children’s pastor job at the big church with the big budget and tons of resources and volunteers but it wasn’t until after I was willing to work in the inner city with nothing, where if I wanted something, it came out of my own pocket – and in a youth center next to a bar cleaning up all the broken beer bottles before the kids got there and doing it without thinking ‘I’m better than this’, or my talents aren’t being used to their full potential. I was just being content where God had me, and God honored that by in time opening up doors to larger spheres of influence and opportunity. I fully realize that some never leave those small unknown places of ministry – and their reward may be greater because of it.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is – I’m not the one who can punch some holes through for you – God is, He has all the connections you need. And I hope you will let me know the end of the story someday when you are in the ministry of your dreams, because I believe you will be someday!
Once again, we started by asking the puppets! This time, I went to the park and decided to ask some puppets at random, who they thought their neighbor was. Here are some of the answers I got when I asked,
“Who is your neighbor?”
Once again, I got a bunch of wrong answers. At the end, the final guy got really close – telling the story of the Good Samaritan, but then missing the point! Your neighbor isn’t anyone who is a Samaritan, but anyone who is in need!
The entire lesson is available on Kidology.org for members. (Includes a download of the above video.) Once I finish all three lessons, I will make everything available, PowerPoints and all. It’s been a fun series to teach.
What is Yosemite Summit? It’s hard to describe. It’s not just another children’s ministry conference. It’s not just a retreat, it’s something incredibly unique and life transforming. It’s an encounter with God – an encounter with creation – an encounter with yourself – and great fellowship with other children’s pastors.
If it’s not a children’s pastor’s event – some ask me why I limit it to children’s pastors (or CM professionals). It’s a fair question. It is because I believe that there are unique challenges that we face as men in children’s ministry that only children’s pastors understand and we need each other to face and overcome them.
I’ve faced many of them (not always victoriously) and created this event as a way to share what I’ve learned and provide a safe and unique opportunity for men to come together – unplugged from both the demands of ministry and the busy pace of life (and electronics!) to face some things they may have never faced before and come away with a totally new perspective on themselves, their families and their ministries.
Yosemite Summit changes men in ways you can’t understand until you’ve been here. And it is only open to a very small group of men each year. And every year, I’ve had one or two come back – which is the highest compliment I can get, that it is a powerful event. Much of the feedback is too personal to post on this blog. Though some have shared. In these posts:
If you page through the posts on the YosemiteSummit.org blog you will find many quotes from the guys who have been on this event – and how it has impacted their life, and I will be posting more from last year in the weeks ahead. But here is one that truly blessed me from this year from a Summiteer who asked to remain nameless, but that is typical of the e-mails I receive from the guys who have joined me on this trip – but let me say first – the credit for God working on Yosemite Summit does not go to me. I start each Summit letting the guys know, I am not the leader, just the inviter, facitator and organizer – after that, I am a fellow participant with them. After all, I created this event after discovering how much I needed this myself. God is our Host, Jesus our Guest Speaker and the Holy Spirit is our Guide.
The final quote I wanted to share:
Thanks for giving me a place where I could hear the voice of God and thanks for helping me change my life. Yosemite Summit will be a major defining moment in my life, that as long as I live, I will see Yosemite Summit as the single event that allowed me to look inside my life and see what needs to change to make a difference in the lives of my wife and my kids. Indebted to you for life because Yosemite Summit made a difference that I haveneeded for so long. Living Yosemite Summit each day from here on.
- A Yosemite Summiteer, 2010
There are only 8 spots for Yosemite Summit and THREE have already been verbally spoken for, for the 2011 Summit. Registration will be openning September 1st. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this life-changing event.
THIS OFFER HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. Well over 1000 Churches responded to this free offer and are now teaching How to Use the Bible. It is our best selling unit that equips kids to USE their Bibles for life. It’s only $44.95 for 4-5 weeks and is PACKED with creative tools and resources. It is well worth a closer look. (Only $39.95 for members of Kidology.org) Order Today!
Yes! I’m excited to let you know that DiscipleLand.com is giving away 100% free full copies of my How to Use the Biblechildren’s church curriculum this month to subscribers of their free newsletter.
THIS IS NOT A SAMPLE!
This is the full and complete 4-5 week curriculum that you can use in your children’s church.
This is your opportunity to find out why churches all over the world are using DiscipleTown – even if they don’t use DiscipleLand’s Sunday School materials. It is a strong stand alone children’s church curriculum that is highly creative, scripturally rich, incredibly flexible, engages the family and makes you look sharp!
AND THIS MONTH ITS FREE!
Why would a publisher give one of their BEST SELLING units away?
Because they are a mission driven publisher with only one line of curriculum that flows out of a philosophy of making disciples.
They share my passion for getting children into the Word of God. I’ve written before about the crisis of kids not using the Bible.
One of the distinctives of DiscipleLand is the absence of printed scripture and the abundance of Bible references – so kids actually need their Bibles.
I remember when my church switched to DiscipleLand and we had to buy new furniture, because the kids needed room on their desks for Bibles!
The #1 compliment I get for DiscipleTown is how much Scripture there is in each and every lesson.
That is why HOW TO USE THE BIBLE is the unit that is being given away for FREE. Both DiscipleLand and I believe passionately that there is a great need today for our children to be equipped to use the Bible!
Too much of what is out there today in churches has become entertainment-rich but Bible-poor and children don’t know how to USE their own Bibles, IF they even bring them to church. This needs to change if they are going to STAND FIRM for God in this changing culture.
For children, the Bible can be a very intimidating book simply due to its size. These lessons will erase kids’ impressions of the Bible as a giant, overwhelming volume. Instead, they will discover that the Scriptures are a collection of smaller books written personally for them. You will introduce children to exciting tools that will help them dig into the Bible. Watch their confidence grow as kids gain a broader understanding of how the Bible is organized and how to navigate its pages! Your students will be motivated to practice applying Biblical principles to their daily lives and learn how to have a daily Quiet Time. The Bible is not just a book to be studied–it is God’s Book that can change their world!
SO HOW DO YOU GET THIS UNIT FOR FREE?!?
Simply visit the DiscipleLand.com website. Click on the “Free Curriculum” banner on the right hand side of the web page and follow the prompts. This is a limited time offer, so don’t delay!
Started my 3-week series in Kids Church this week with WHO IS JESUS? and what better way to start out, than to do a “Man on the Street” interview segment… but instead, I did a “Puppet on the Street” segment, or rather, to be more precise, “Puppets Out On My Back Deck.” But anyway, here was the result:
If you noticed, it started raining! I get all the equipment set up, which is quite extensive for a quick video, tripod, camera, and for outdoors you need a mic and mic cables and then booster and power and amp and power strip and then extension cords and clip on and various adapters – and even so the wind was still a challenge. I had 24 minutes of tape left and a wife telling me dinner was ready in 17 minutes and the sun going down and its a Saturday idea, and no script! Just a tub of puppets! It was literally grab and talk and let the puppet decide what it would say! (Kinda like TBT) And then with clear skies while in the middle of recording – rain. Go figure. But I just kept going since I had very little tape and sunlight and when I was done, of course the rain stopped too. Life and kids ministry is funny some times.
This fall, they decided to relaunch their children’s ministry with a new name, “Kid City” as they have a passion for the city of Denver and want to be a light in the community, among other reasons. I was not in on the brain storming for the new name – so I am speculating. (I am not in any official role at this church, though I have just volunteered to teach kids church this month to help kick off the new name.)
I did, however, volunteer to help the pastor, @joshweidmann develop the new name a little to incorporate the broader Mission of the church so that “Kid City” could take on some more meaning and partner with the church more.
So how do you partner the Children’s Ministry with the Broader Adult Mission of the Church?
Let me start by giving an example from the past. In my previous ministry, we had developed our own children’s ministry Mission Statement, which I must say, I really liked a lot. (As have others aparently, as I’ve seen it often in my travels!) But then, the senior pastor got on the ball one year and developed a church-wide mission statement. OUR church existed to: Equip Believers to Impact the World. It was good. It was short, biblical, memorable, easily communicated and on target. He even went on to hire two pastors, one to focus on the Equipping half, and another to focus on the Impacting half. The entire ministry was divided between whether it fit under Equipping Ministries or Impacting Ministries. And then there was the children’s ministries. We do both. I had a choice. I could continue to do my own thing, an island unto myself. I was not asked to change anything. But I pulled my team together and said, “Our pastor has aligned our church behind a Mission: Equipping Believers to Impact the World.” Where does the children’s ministry fit into this Mission? What do WE believe? Our mission was a little different at that time. It talked about parents as the primary spiritual leaders, and reaching kids, and evangelism – all worded eloquently, of course!
So we changed it to: Equipping Parents and Volunteers to Impact the World Through Reaching and Teaching Children.
Sure, it was a little wordy, and it lost some of the stuff I liked in my old one, but it defined howwe Equipped Believers to Impact the World through the Children’s Ministry. We did it via parents and other volunteers and we did by reaching and reaching children. It showed we were part of the broader mission of the entire church.
Back to my present situation. Here I had a challenge. I’m given two pieces of information I can’t change:
1) A ministry name already determined.
2) A church mission already determined.
How can I link them? I’m kicking off this new name in Kids Church the next three weeks! I don’t want “Kid City” to just be a cool name. I’d like the kids to see themselves as part of the larger mission of the church. But if I tell the kids,
Kids, You are going to Advance the Gospel in Your Culture to Transform Lives by Connecting People to Christ, Community and Calling!
they are going to look at me like I’m an alien! So how do you bring that down to a kid-sized mission?
Here’s the secret – as I’m sure you may need to do the same thing to your “Big Church” mission. Take the Big Words and circle them, and reduce them.
Element from “Big Church Mission” → To Kid City Mission
Gospel → Its about “Jesus”
Christ → Another word for “Jesus”
Culture → “in”
Connecting → going “in”
Calling → Personalize it: “My”
Community → “Neighborhood”
I ended up with “Jesus in My Neighborhood”
So for the next three weeks, I’m going to teach that BIG MISSION:
WEEK #1: Who is Jesus?
WEEK #2: Who is My Neighbor?
WEEK #3: Jesus in My Neighborhood?
You CAN take a BIG OL’ Grown Up Mission Statement and bring it down to a Kid Level!
And the funny part is - “Jesus in My Neighborhood” might just be easier for an adult to understand too. Just something to think about.
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.
~ Stephen R. Covey