Proactive Leadership

If you are the one placed in charge of a children’s ministry, most likely you a leader. However, unless you are intentional, the weekly demands of ministry programs and needy volunteers can quickly push you into a role of being a reactive leader – constantly reacting to the needs that are presented to you via e-mail, voice mail, and in person. You will be doing a lot of good, but you’ll soon feel like the ministry isn’t going anywhere – and you’ll be right. It will be treading water and it will be all you can do just to keep your nose above the surface. You may be a servant leader, and that is a good thing – but you if you want your ministry to improve you must learn to be a proactive leader – one that is driving and determining his or her actions more than being driven by the endless demands that are constantly pouring in.What does it mean to be a proactive leader? It means you lean into the challenging situations that face you. You don’t avoid them, post-pone facing them, or pretend they will resolve themselves if you just ignore them a little longer. (Hint:…

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Living a Legacy – A Tribute to My Friend Craig Jutila

Pastor Craig Jutila passed away on December 26th, 2018.  as a result of a snowboarding accident. An official statement is available on his church’s Facebook page. This is my tribute to him. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 There are people who live a full life. There are others who live life to the fullest. Still others who are full of life. But rare are those who do all of these and leave the world fuller because they were here. I don’t even remember when I first met Craig Jutila. He’s one of those friends I’ve just always known. When you have memories that go back farther than your digital pictures, you know you have known someone a long time. I sat in his workshops as a learner, I served with him at training events, even once on a cruise at a conference our friend Roger Fields organized on a ship. The last time we chatted about ministry, life, and family was during a break earlier this year as we coached leaders at the children’s pastors conference. Like me, he…

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Jesus is Proof – God Prefers the Unlikely

Have you figured it out yet? I know, you’ve heard it many times. God prefers to use the ordinary. The unexpected. The unknown. The unlikely. Jesus came through an unknown young girl and her husband of unknown heritage. His birth was announced to humble shepherds. There was no room in the Inn so the Son of God was born in a place suitable more for animals than the King of Kings. We know this story. We’ve taught this story. A hundred times in a hundreds ways. But what does this mean for us in Children’s Ministry? It means everything. It’s more than just a story for Christmas time. It reveals how God prefers to get things done. He is a God who’s glory and power and provision is best on display when it is needed most. When we look at our ministries, too often we see how things ought to be. How our staffing ought to be. Our facilities. Our budgets. Our resources. Our…. (dare I say it?) appreciation for all that we do for the children. We may even look at the lack of skill in the volunteers we have to work with, the age of the equipment we…

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FALL Checklist Time for Your Kidmin!

Let’s work together! While you may still have some summer events… soon the kids will be back in school, you’ll be raking leaves, and your annual ministry programs will be in full swing. NOW is the time to get a jump on the fall and head off some mini-emergencies. Soon you’ll have all the usual Sunday morning crises you had last fall: New teachers wondering where things are Regular teachers asking where stuff is Supplies running out Equipment malfunctioning A backlog of applications and background checks New obligations someone assumed you knew about! Fill in the blank: _____________________ Take some time this week to make yourself a FALL CHECKLIST. I can’t write your checklist because every ministry is different – but I can give you some suggestions based on what I’m thinking about for my own list. Use an afternoon, a lunch hour, or a quiet evening to think ahead. (Don’t just say, ‘That’s a good idea.’ DO IT!) In the classic Children’s Ministry Handbook, The Art of War, Kidmin Guru Sun Tzu writes, “Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.” Which simply means, preparation is everything. He also writes, “The children’s pastor who wins makes many calculations in…

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What Will You Leave Behind?

Life is lived moving forward, but it’s good to look in the rear view mirror once in a while. WHAT WILL YOU LEAVE BEHIND? Recently, I did some off roading in the mountains here in Colorado. I came across old structures and enjoyed taking pictures of them. Hard to believe this old mine once produced gold! What a happenin’ place it must have been. The imagination allows you to picture this structure new and bursting with activity as men toiled to produce gold. Now all that remains is a pile of wood – a shadow of once was. I came across a few cabins, roofs long gone and one had a 20 foot tree growing inside. And yet, imagine when there was not only a roof, but a floor and furniture and people eating, sleeping, laughing and calling this home. It got me thinking. What will remain of my life’s efforts one hundred years from now? What ‘ruins’ will hint at how I spent my limited time here on earth? How have I spent my time and what mattered most to me? What will last and what will vanish without a trace? 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says: For no one can…

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