This is a guest post, re-posted from itsyourbooknow.blogspot.com with permission.
This week I had a Sunday School training with Karl Bastian, the Kidologist. The topic was discipline, and I was eager to learn. That’s one of the hardest things for me as a Sunday School teacher.
I walked out with a lot of great tips. Grace based tips. Which I love, because I’m a big fan of grace. All new ideas I’d never thought of, heard of, or tried before. I’m eager to try this out.
But the thing that struck me the most wasn’t so much a tip as it was a perspective. Which was pretty much the perspective that framed all the tips.
You know those “good” kids? You know, the ones who bring you Christmas gifts and say please and thank you and never disrupt class? You probably aren’t going to make a difference in their life. Why? Because their lives are already on a good trajectory. They usually come from good homes, homes where parents are doing a wonderful job teaching them about faith and how to live like Jesus. If you weren’t in their lives, they’d probably still turn out to be wonderful Christians.
You know those “bad” kids? The ones who interrupt your class with fart noises and start chanting “no more rules!” (The latter actually happened to me last week.) The ones who make you want to use duct tape as a disciplinary measure or pull your hair out because you can’t? This is your greatest opportunity to make a difference in a kids’ life. Not by punishing them or yelling at them – not by striving to change their behavior. But by partnering with them and being their friend and helping them understand what it means to be a Christian. By helping shape their heart and showing them that Jesus loves them—when they probably feel like no adult loves them.
Karl accomplished his goal (at least for me): to make us want those kinds of kids more than we want the “good” kids. Because if I want to make a difference in a kid’s life, it’s not going to be in the angelic kid’s life. It’s going to be in the life of an unloveable 5th grade boy that I loved anyway.
By Ali Thompson
I asked Ali if I could re-post her blog post because she got it. If you want to hear the presentation I gave at LifeBridge Church last Sunday, you can listen to a similar presentation I did at a conference by downloading this MP3: Making Your Discipline Problems Disappear! (79 MB)
Guest Blogger, Patrick McWhorter
Why go back to Yosemite? I prayed about the opportunity and tossed it around for a while. Would this year match the experience I had last year? Would it be better? Would it not be as good? There were so many reasons to go back and really no reason to not go.
The number one reason to go back – I know that I need the time away. I love what I do, don’t get me wrong. But throughout the year, the emotional stress can wear you out. The “normal” people issues that come up can wear on your soul, especially when the people are not just bodies in the congregation but are your friends, your family, your brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I need the time away to leave the work of ministry behind, to leave the daily tasks behind, and to focus on ultimately what is most important, my own personal relationship with Christ.
Words cannot describe the feeling you have when you are 8,000+ feet up, looking over God’s awesome creation and it is just you, Him and His Word. God revealed things to me during the week at Yosemite that I was not expecting.
The time away last year allowed me to refocus my life and set my eyes on what was most important once again. I am looking forward to the time once again to refocus my life and to continue to grow as a child of God.
The opportunity to get with other guys from across the country and share life together was amazing. We all shared the common ground of children’s ministry but it was great to get to know each other, pray for each other, and encourage each other in our personal walks with Christ. I am looking forward to that fellowship again this year.
The cost was an issue that I had to weigh out. But when it came down to it, I could spend the money going to conferences getting new ideas for ministry or I could spend the money and take the time away I need to grow in Christ and re-energize my walk with Him.
I don’t know about you, but I have so many ideas that I don’t know what to do with them all. And the thing is, if I am pouring my energy into ministry and not taking care of my own relationship with Him, those new ideas are not going to take off anyway. Over the last couple years I have been doing what I can to do what I have always known, to put my relationship with God before my ministry. This is easier said than done, especially during the day to day things of life. Yosemite Summit is a great way to get away to leave the other things behind for a week and focus on what is most important.
Whether we realize it or not, we all need this time away with God. We fool ourselves into thinking that it is not a good time. We tell ourselves that we have too much going on. The things is, when don’t we as children’s pastors have too much going on? When are we just waiting around with nothing to do? There is always something to do!
There is never going to be the “best” time in our eyes to leave things behind. But as I came to the conclusion last year and this year, I need this time more than I need to hold the next event for the children. I need this time more than the next new activity or idea for the children’s ministry.
I realized that I needed to trust God and that He would provide the way to get things done that needed to get done – He would clear the path even if issues came up while at Yosemite. So with that said, I look forward to the discussions God and I will have on that mountain top. I look forward to the time with Him. I look forward to the continued strength from Him and how I will grow closer to Him that week. It will be an awesome week. Don’t miss it.
- Pat, April 2010
Learn more about this retreat at www.Yosemite Summit.org
Only four spots remain for 2010