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Have you ever wanted to UNPLUG from the hectic busy pace of ministry life? That is the entire point of Yosemite Summit. It is a week where you are unplugged in every sense of the word. No computer, no e-mail, no phone calls, no work, no deadlines, no ‘emergencies’, no pressure. Better than a day off spent catching up on personal things – it is a complete break for the sake of complete rest and renewal.
I was once told by a very wise mentor, “Karl, you need to stop being a human doing, and learn to become a human being.”
That is what Yosemite Summit is all about. It is an annual cessation of activity. Too often we confuse busyness with what God is truly seeking from us. Not that we aren’t busy doing good things! But we get so busy doing these good things, that our relationship with God can grow distant, and soon God is wondering, why or who we are truly busy for?
Stopping, completely, once a year is an opportunity to recalibrate. It is a time for reflection and renewal. It is not a time of evaluating ministry goals and seeking a new “ministry vision” from God! It is a time of setting all that down and walking away from it.
Why? God did not save us to gain a worker. He can manage quite fine without us. (Something to consider when you are working so hard – God doesn’t need you!) He saved us that we might enter into a relationship with Him and get to know Him. If we are so busy working that we aren’t getting to know Him – than the working isn’t working. It is actually counter-productive to what God’s true aim is.
We are busy “making Him known,” but we forget the first half – “To know Christ, and to make Him known.” If we forget our relationship in the pursuit of the second half, we are then working to reproduce something that isn’t what God wants. No wonder many non-believers have no interest in becoming a Christian! They see a lot of busy-bodies, instead of disciples of Christ, men and women who walk with God.
To be in awe of God again…
So once a year I stop all the activity and simply walk with God for a week doing nothing else but enjoying Him. And I invite a small group to join me. It changes me and helps me continue that walk when I get back to my God-given work.
Will you join me this May? Only three spots remain.
Take some time and browse through the blog on YosemiteSummit.org – you’ll discover inspiration and the answers you have about this unique event.
I’m already praying for you… I just don’t know who you are yet.
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PS: If you need this Summit and can’t afford it, please let me know.
So, did you watch the STATE of the UNION address by the President? Regardless of your political opinions, it is a good practice to stop once a year and consider the state of the union. How are we doing? What have we accomplished? What could we do better? Who can we honor?
Have you ever considering addressing the STATE of the KIDMIN?
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Often we get stuck in a rut. We do the same things every year because… well, we did them last year. And the year before. And possibly, the year before that. Maybe you should consider doing your own “STATE of the KIDMIN” for your parents, leaders and volunteers. You could do a luncheon or simply a letter you send out. But similar to the President, share what has gone well, what could be done better, and honor some people who have served well. There is always cause for applause in the children’s ministry. And the good news is, there probably isn’t two parties in your kidmin you have to worry about “crossing the aisle” to appeal to!
So what is the STATE of your KIDMIN? Is it time to do some evaluating in what YOUR KIDMIN should do differently in 2014?
Consider: If you had to be elected to your leadership position, what would you do differently in the upcoming year to please kids, parents, volunteers or even….. you boss?
Just something to consider.
I just got an e-mail that MADE 2014. It defined why I do what I do. I share it with his permission:
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Subject: I’m Going to Be a Children’s Pastor!
This Sunday I am going to be appointed as the Assistant Pastor of Children’s Ministries at my church. I am so excited to finally get to be focused on Pastoral ministry to kids and their families. However, when I think back over the years, I know I need to thank you. You were a HUGE encouragement to me and one of the reasons I kept pressing forward in this call.
At one point I was simply a 6th grader with a call from God, but you were one of the touch-points God used along the way in order to keep me focused on that call. I know I was not the best employee at times, but you still saw through my work and saw the call God had put on my heart. I wanted to thank you for supporting me through the years I was blogging and working for Kidology.
Honestly, I’m not always sure why you were so willing to empower me, because I know I was all over the place at the time. However, you did and you helped me continually be reminded about what God has called me to. You gave me the opportunity to have a job where I could continue to learn and prepare for the ministry that was to come.
Lord, THANK YOU for Karl! I pray that you pour out a blessing over his ministry as he humbly serves you and press forward in reaching kids for your Kingdom.
I met Brandon at a CPC a several years ago. He was trying to meet as many experienced children’s pastors as possible so he could interview them for a podcast he had going of interviews about children’s ministry. I took him out to lunch and interviewed him. I learned of his call and passion for kids ministry and offered him a paid job at Kidology writing, collecting, and editing content so he could get into the middle of the flow of the best of kidmin content and content providers in kidmin today. I took him to conferences so we could room mate and work the Kidology booth together. We became friends. I saw a young version of myself! I visited him when I was in Californa. (His house is amazing at Christmas time!)
I constantly encouraged him in his pursuit of kidmin – but I learned from him too! I knew in time God was going to bring all his hard work to fruition and his dream of becoming a children’s pastor would come true in God’s timing.
This Sunday is that day! And I am celebrating that I got to play a part in that process, just as many others did for me. Just as he says he wonders why I kept believing in him – I used to wonder the same about those who believed in me and encouraged me when I was young. But as I told him on the phone, (I called after I read his e-mail… and after I wiped my eyes) us “older folks” have a way of seeing beyond youthfulness and seeing heart, passion and potential. Folks saw that in me… just as I saw it in him.
Congratulations Brandon, I’m so proud of you!
And to everyone out there investing in young people – for every e-mail like this, there are many others who never take the time so say “Thank You,” but you DID make a huge difference in their life, so keep on keeping on!
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
What do you do when you put a lot of hard work into an event or idea in ministry… and the end result is disappointing?
For Christmas Luke got a home made volcano. We were pretty excited about it and spent several days building it and looking forward to the final moment on the eve of our trip home when we would erupt the volcano.
The climax of the project, was, well, let’s just say it’s a good thing we all had a good sense of humor about it. Here is a video of the dramatic eruption!
As we laughed about our volcano disaster, it occurred to me that the same thing has happened to me many times in ministry. I got a “great idea” – put a lot of work and energy and time and often resources into bringing the idea into reality, only the have the final result be… well, disappointing.
If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. You’ll have a great looking volcano that only fizzles. You can laugh about it, but more importantly, you can learn from it.
What are some of the lessons we learn in leadership from our flops?
- Ask, “Was this really of God? Or just me?” The answer isn’t automatically that you were off track with God – God isn’t always into big results, He is in the character building business, not the ministry building business – but there are times we have moved forward with something without any confirmation from the Lord that He even wanted us to pursue what we are so excited about. It can be a lesson to be more certain next time that He is asking us to do whatever it is we are so excited about. It may be the right idea, just not the right time.
- Ask, “Did I have others on board?” Similarly, you may have been the only one excited about it and been forcing it to happen. Others may have been acting excited so as not to disappoint you or discourage you (or bring on your frustration or irk) but in the end, they didn’t put the effort and energy into preparation and promotion that they would have if they had truly been on board with it.
- Ask, “Was this a distraction from what I ought to be doing?” Sometimes there is something more important we need to be focusing on, but it is less exciting, less enjoyable, or we plain just don’t want to do it – so we can find ourselves choosing to pour time and energy into something that “demands” our time so that we “can’t” do what we really should be doing. It can be a bit of self-deception not revealed until the distraction flops and the real problem is still there, and perhaps worse!
- Ask, “Did I take short-cuts?” Sometimes in our planning we let our excitement and eagerness cause us to short change the process and we don’t take the necessary time to do the job well. For example, in my volcano, what if I didn’t read the recipe right? In a ministry project we may skip asking for help, promoting properly, planning certain details, or clearing things that need to be cleared… all in our rush for the eruption we are so eager to see.
- Ask, “Could someone else have done this better than me?” One of the poisons of ministry is the belief “if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself.” Often, the opposite is actually the truth! When we want something badly, or enjoy something intensely, we often are more hands-on than is actually good for the project. If we let others who are more skilled than us take over, we may actually enjoy the results more!
If you’ve ever had a volcano fizzle – you are not alone. Don’t get down, laugh it off – but do learn from it. Next time, the results may be even better as a result!
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Start your New Year out with some blogging tips!
In just a few months, I will have been blogging with this website for ten years. Kinda crazy! But that isn’t when I started blogging. I was blogging before there were blogs. I used to create webpages from scratch before any of the blogging platforms existed and would email friends a link to my post, like when I went to Alaska or flying with my dad. So when I started blogging, the Internet was a bit of a lonely place for blogs… but now there are well over 100 kidmin blogs worthy of reading! Over the years my blog has gone from in the Top 5 to now down in the mid-thirties on the “Top 100″ list – and I celebrate this decline! It means that there are many people contributing weekly to what has always been my driving passion - to equip and encourage those in children’s ministry. While much of my kidmin writing ends up on Kidology.org instead of my blog, I have enjoyed seeing the amount of help for kids ministers growing steadily every year, even if that means my blogs “ranking” goes down some. It’s a team effort!
But with ten years of blogging, I think I know a thing or two about how to do this. I’ve blogged some advice in the past on how to blog:
But as we head into 2014 and many folks are making New Year’s Resolutions regarding their blogs, I thought I’d share some TOP TIPS on how to make your blog successful and read.
Here are my “Ten Commandments of Blogging.” (Google that for many others out there on the web.)
- Blog often – if you neglect your blog, you will lose readers.
- Blog well – provide something helpful, insightful or enjoyable to read.
- Blog original content – don’t copy from others. If you are inspired by someone else, give credit. No one likes a content thief.
- Blog with a personal touch – share stories, pictures, videos and insights that are yours alone. A blog post that no one else could have written is the best. If it is just generic advice or “10 steps of this or that” the web has enough of that already. Be original!
- Promote your Posts – put a link to your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, it will gain you readership.
- Blog concisely – if you are too wordy, you’ll lose readers. Keep posts short. If you have a lot to say, do a series of posts.
- Invite interaction and feedback – ask questions, invite comments, and be relational. Respond to comments you get!
- Blog wisely – don’t get obsessed with tracking and SEO, but learn to use it to learn the impact and reach of your blog so you can improve.
- Edit Your Blog! Typos and awkward sentence turn away readers who won’t take you seriously. Ask for help if this is a weak area, often we can not see our own “misteaks.”
- Read Blogs – one of the best ways to improve as a blogger is to be reading others. Don’t be an island on the Internet, interact with others.
I look forward to more blogging in 2014, and if you have a blog, post it below in comments so I can be sure to read yours too!