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Today, I want to share a thought that I got via e-mail from a friend of mine – a CP in Florida who is an “off the charts” super kids pastor. Not because she is well known, or runs a huge ministry, or for any of the reasons we tend to look for in the “Kidmin Who’s Who’s” – but because she has a HUGE heart for kids and Jesus. I talked about Shelly in the Kidmin Podcast, “It’s All About Jesus!” I love her personal motto, which comes in handy quite a bit in kids ministry. When things don’t always go as planned, you’ll hear Shelly say, “It’s All Good.” She even has it up on the wall of her office as a constant reminder, when God is in control, and you are trusting Him, “It’s All Good!”
“It’s All Good!”
I want to share something that God whispered to me the last two minutes before I walked out the doors of a conference our staff recently attended.
I was in the bathroom… the conference was over and I had dashed back in before we hit the road home. As I was washing my hands, I noticed a piece of paper towel on the floor. After I dried my hands I bent over, grabbed that paper towel and threw it in the waste can. As I was throwing it in, I was smiling as I was hearing the words, “leave it better than you found it.” (This is a saying I have carried with me my whole life.) As I was smiling God whispered to me, “That is what you do with the children each week.” And I stopped cold. I was the only one in the bathroom and I was so happy about that because I got to relish the moment and soak in it.
It’s true. Let me explain.
Do you remember our philosophy of ministry from wayyyyy back when you first read the CM Manual? Our Children’s Ministry ministry is W.I.L.D.E. about kids! When they are with us our goal is the following:
That we ARE:
- Worshiping with Joy (Reaching Up.. we teach this and model this with them)
- Intentionally seeking God’s Truth (Reaching In. discipleship. Teaching the Word)
- Loving kids and leaders right where they’re at (Grace. All the way around. Patience. Compassion)
- Developing and Deepening our relationship with Jesus and others (Reaching In. Discipleship. Fellowship)
- Exploring new and fun ways to tell about our Faith (Reaching Out. teaching kids to share their Hope! (Keeping the Good News fresh for the kids.)
When we do the above, we are leaving the Kids “better than we found them,” or “better than when they walked through our doors.” Every time you are a part of loving them, teaching them, guiding them, speaking and correcting with LOVE, modeling grace and patience… you are “leaving their hearts better” than when they walked in. You are nourishing their souls. They don’t know it, but we do! No matter your role in CM, you are a part of this beautiful impartation!
Someone asked me this week what my vision is for children’s ministry. That is such a complicated question! But the bottom line, as God whispered to me, is that we, as a team, bound together with one vision from God, is to “leave them better than we found them,” filled with TRUTH… and as they look back with us, they will remember there is a place of safety and of love and that place is Jesus.
I will leave you with one more thought…..
If you are tired, find time to get alone with Jesus. This should be a priority for us, not an afterthought or the last thing on our list of a busy day. It is so life giving! I love this line from a new song I learned, “There’s a calm that covers me when I kneel down at your feet. It’s a place of freedom, It ‘s a place where I find healing.” (Highlands Worship)
Leave Em Better!
Me and Shelly from “way back” when I first met her at a CPC.
I think that’s some pretty good advice that we all can take to heart and think about this coming Sunday. Thanks, Shelly, for all your encouragement over the years and for loving Jesus and Kids so much, it’s contagious!
We still enjoy sending out a traditional Christmas Card greeting to a select list of family and friends – though it is a challenge every year! But it is a great opportunity to get updated addresses on people you know and love.
But it also forces you to make tough choices too.
Have we heard from them in while?
Do they still live there?
Are they still married?
Have they ever written to us?
Who are they, again? LOL
Often you see a name and such fond memories come back. A smile appears on your face as you remember years of ministry together. Once in awhile you crack up laughing over something that happened. Sometimes sadness sinks in. They’re divorced. You were at their wedding. What went wrong? Other times you wonder, why haven’t we heard from them? What’s changed in their life? You hope they are doing OK. Life happens. Other people’s addresses change and their cards come back. You wonder if you’ll ever reconnect. Then there are those who pass away. Memories are all you’ll ever have. Until heaven, of course!
Relationships and networks have only grown with the Internet, e-mail, and facebook and Twitter! (I suppose I should include circles on Google, though I only dabble there.) It’s hard to manage them all! Life is too short and too busy to keep up with everyone we have ever worked with, played with, laughed with, liked, loved, or been related to!
But at Christmas we try to catch up… even if it’s just a card, or letter or a blog post or a video or even just a quick e-mail.
That’s one comforting thing about being a Christian and belonging to the Family of God. We will have all of eternity to catch up with all the people we feel behind on here on earth. A new heaven and new earth without the pressures of work and deadlines and a calendar that reminds us we are getting older and no hurry that pushes relationships aside because of things we tell ourselves are more pressing. (When they probably really aren’t most of the time.)
We won’t need Christmas to play catch up. We’ll be able to walk and talk and catch up all the time. I’m looking forward to it. But in the mean time… I’ve got to get some Christmas Cards in the mail. If you don’t get one, don’t be offended. I’ll be posting a video and blog post as well soon, but “catch all” strategy. And no worries, I take no offense at those who ‘forget’ or skip me. I’m planning to spend some quality time with all of you Someday. Let’s make a point of it!
This is part of a series called 24 Days of Thankfulness. These posts are in RANDOM order, NOT priority order. Each is something I am thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.
DAY #19: True Friends
There is an old saying, true friends run toward you when everyone else is running away. I’ve been there. I’m thankful for true friends. I’m not going to list names in this post, because that is a dangerous task indeed! But they know who they are!
Some are employees, board members, some are all over the country from past ministries, but all share a kindred spirit of fellowship with me over the years, though a few are newer since I moved to Colorado.
They are the ones who have stuck by me during the challenging times or just share life with me through the ups and downs of normal life. (Not to say my life is normal!) Because life is challenging, and without friends, it’s even tougher! They are the ones who have held me up when I couldn’t stand. They are the ones who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They are the ones now who know the real me – not the public me – and love me anyway. I’m a real guy. There is a guy named Karl behind the Kidologist. It’s not that I’m fake or a hypocrite, it’s just that I’m a real person, and there is a lot more to me than kids ministry. And I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I struggle. I have other interests. (really!) And I need people who can see me as a normal person and as a regular guy. (and who aren’t intimidated by me, and who aren’t impressed at all) Friends who don’t even care about kids ministry or who I am publicly. Some who don’t even know about all that. Those are the best. They don’t even know I have a blog or websites and probably won’t even see this post! (Nice.) Because there are days I just want to be Karl and hang up the Kidologist and just have some friends who don’t care about that or kidmin friends who can see me outside of kidmin. Those are the awesomest friends. And I am thankful for them today.
Kidmin is great, but it isn’t everything.
When I teach on friendship, I tell the kids A True Friend C.A.R.E.S.
C = Challenges You (to be a better person)
A = Accepts You (just the way you are)
R = Respects You (don’t tear you down)
E = Encourages You (builds you up, makes you like yourself better)
S = Sticks By You (no matter what)
Thanking God today for my friends and employees and board members who live this out in my life. And I pray I am this kind of friend in return.
Today I launched a little Thanksgiving Project over on Kidology.org called “24 Days of Thanks-Giving” – basically I am providing a simple Word doc you can download and every day from Nov. 1 until Thanksgiving add ONE thing you are thankful for.
It’s really just something I need to DO MYSELF – but I thought maybe others might want to join me, and I’d enjoy reading/seeing what others are thankful for. So you are welcome to use the Word doc, or just post in the forum what YOU are thankful for! So let me begin today, with my first post. These are NOT going to be in priority order, otherwise I’d have to go God, Family, etc. and then later on, people might judge me for putting one thing “above” or “before” another – so right out of the gate let me say, these posts will be in RANDOM ORDER of things I am THANKFUL FOR!
DAY 2 – God’s Word
DAY 3 – My Mom
DAY 4 – Photography
DAY 5 – Pandora
DAY 6 – George Lucas
DAY 7 – Breckenridge
DAY 8 – Barq’s
DAY 9 – Mercy & Grace
DAY 10 – Steves
DAY 11 – Freedom
DAY 12 – Luke
DAY 13 – Sara
DAY 14 – My Bookkeeper
DAY 15 – Science
DAY 16 – Da Cloud
DAY 17 – Awana & Sunday School
DAY 18 – My Dad
DAY 19 – True Friends
DAY 20 – Scottevest
DAY 21 – My Customers
DAY 22 – Tennis Balls
DAY 23 – Flight
DAY 24 – Jesus
Next entries »
Happy Resurrection Sunday…
Grace = Getting what we don’t deserve.
(vs. Mercy = Not getting what we DO deserve!)
That’s what this weekend is all about. It’s about the Grace God showed us by looking past our short-comings, our failures, and our imperfections… and loving us anyway.
It’s about wanting us to be Family in spite of us. It’s about Him DYING to make us Family, even though we were wrapped up in ourselves and our needs.
We’ve all got people in our lives (and families) and drive us nuts and who are wrapped up in themselves. People who have let us down. People who don’t deserve a second chance. People who don’t deserve forgiveness. People who are a “lost cause.”
Christ was demonstrating for us what He expects of us by what He did for us. While WE were a lost cause, beyond hope, undeserving, selfish and wrapped up in OURselves – He died for us, and then did the biggest “come back” in His-Story to redeem us.
We have no excuse to hold anyone at arm’s length or hold a grudge. Those who have truly experienced Grace, find it so much easier and natural to extend Grace – for they have been to the foot of the Cross and begged for it.
This Easter, look around for who you can be Jesus to… someone perhaps you’ve overlooked, forgotten, or even given a cold shoulder too… and welcome them back.
After all, it’s what Jesus did for you and me on the first Good Friday and Easter not so long ago. (In God’s eternal timing)
A grace receiver,