Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Steps to Reinforce Values Weekly

How do you anchor values in Scripture, tie them to behavior, and make them inspiring? That's not a skill everyone possesses, but it is a skill everyone can learn. All ministry leaders-paid and unpaid-must reinforce their values to their team on a weekly basis. There are many creative ways to do this, but the simplest way is explaining it to people each week. 

For example our children's director will be rotating, on a weekly basis, through her mission, questions, and values.
Mission: A safe, fun place for kids to learn about the gospel. 
2 questionsDid you have fun? What did you learn? 
ValuesSafety, Creative Bible Teaching, Age-appropriate, Relationships, Fun.

Here are 5 simple steps to accomplishing this on a weekly basis.

1. State and Explain the value
2. Share a Scripture that illustrates or highlights this value and explain it
3. Tell a story from the ministry where you saw this done well or poorly
4. Tell what will happen if we all embrace this value
5. Remind people what to do this week to make it happen

1.) You know our five values spell SCARF. It just works out that way :) And the last value is Fun! It's also one of the two questions parents are asking their kids every week, Did you have fun? We want the answer to be a resounding YES! We want this to be a fun place for kids.
2.) In Proverbs 17:22 it says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." You never know what kind of week a child has had and sometimes the smile and joy that come from having fun are exactly the medicine they need. Ecclesiastes also reminds us that "there is a time to laugh" if it's not children's ministry, then I don't know when that time would ever be!! God made us to have fun, and when we have fun we are speaking the love language of children.
3.) I saw this just last week when Katherine led the game where all the kids were laughing and smiling. That is exactly the kind of environment we want to create. The more of that we have the better!
4.) Imagine if we do this so well that kids are literally dragging their parents back to church. It should be so much fun that kids are bringing their whole family to hear the gospel every single week! 20 years from now I want kids remembering how great church was when they were a kid.
5.) So remember to get down on to their level and when the time is right it's ok to be a little silly.

Of course, there are hundreds of ways to do this creatively, but when it comes to a new skill you need to nail it before you scale it. If you are brand new to this consider writing out what you want to say ahead of time for each of your values. I hope this is helpful. I just wanted to put the cookies on the bottom shelf.

Monday, December 08, 2014

A Message to College Students

College is the time you either confirm or re-shape your identity. When you show up freshman year you can ditch "Becky" and ask people to start calling you "Rebecca." You decide in what way you wish to portray yourself and you go for it. You can add the freshman 15 of pure muscle or start dressing like a JCrew model if you really want. (Or as is more likely you can decide to wear your PJ's for weeks on end.) And as you are looking around campus at the fraternity boys and the girls taking endless pictures in their sorority squat poses, you can't help but wonder who you want to become like. The feminists seem to have something they are passionate about... The well-dressed finance students are probably going to make twice what everyone else does...

Stop looking around and start looking up.

Consider that what God says about you is the thing which most defines your identity. You are loved. You are valued. You are chosen for a purpose.

You can try your best to construct an identity from the outside-in by changing how you perform in school, what you wear, who you hang with, and even how you talk. But for the Christian the whole process works in reverse. Your identity is already settled and firm in Christ. You must start with what Christ says about you and work out how you as an individual will respond to that through how you perform in school, through your dress, through your choice of friends, and even through how you speak.

Stop trying to find yourself, you've already been found!

You've been found because Someone thought you were valuable enough to search for.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Frontline Ministry

HOW you live at 10:30am on Monday says more about your faith than WHERE you are at 10:30am on Sunday.

In more traditional wars there were "frontlines" and there were "supply lines." The "frontlines" were where the battle was fought every day. The "supply lines" were where soldiers were equipped and provisioned. The "frontlines" were where the mission was actually pursued. The "supply lines" were where you could retreat for a few minutes to plan and prepare to re-engage.

The church is not where "frontline" ministry happens. The church is where "supply line" ministry happens. Christians are equipped and engaged at church gatherings to fulfill the mission of Jesus (love God, love people last time I checked) in their workplaces, homes, and neighborhoods. 

To the extent that the mission comes to you, the church is a place to do "frontline" ministry. But to the extent that the church is full of Christians the role of the church is the "supply line," equipping and provisioning people for the ministry that will happen out there.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Building God's House

Being a Christian is sort of like being Bob Vila (@BobVila in case you wanted to know). All the good things that have happened in your life happened, not because you were focusing on yourself, but because you spent your time building someone else's house.

Now I know that is extraordinarily cheesy compared to my normal tone, but look at this passage today, and you'll know why I couldn't help myself.

2 Samuel 7
v.2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent."

So David thinks to himself, I live in a palace, but God lives in a tent. This shouldn't be! He is concerned for the glory and greatness of God to be properly displayed. From God's response it appears that, although he never asked for a house, he nevertheless appreciates the sentiment.

And what is God's response to David's desire to build him a house?

v.16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.

In response to David's desire to build God a house, God declares that he will build David's house! You concern yourself with building God's house and God will establish your house. You build God's kingdom and God will grant you an eternal one.

What would it look like today to build God's house instead of yours? Where are you trusting in your own power to establish your house instead of trusting in God to establish your house?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anger Toward God - SOAPs

Date: 10/23/14

Scripture - 2 Samuel 6:8
And David was angry because the Lord had burst forth against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day.

This is one of those Bible stories I can hardly comprehend. David is trying to honor God by bringing the ark to Jerusalem. They move it on a cart (instead of poles) out of ignorance. Uzzah doesn't want the cart to fall when the oxen stumble so he reaches out to grab it, but the Lord strikes him dead. I know this is primarily a lesson about God's holiness, but I was struck today by David's anger and fear toward the Lord. When a finite man encounters a holy God we are not supposed to throw aside our emotions and sit before god like an unfeeling statue. We cannot help but be embodied persons with a powerful emotional life that react strangely in the presence of a holy God. Anger toward God is an expected part of worshiping a God who is infinitely good and powerful.

I shouldn't deny my emotions toward God. But neither should I let those emotions determine my whole relationship with God. Part of growing from a child to an adult is feeling powerful emotions and acknowledging them without being ruled by them. So I must be toward the Lord.

Our Father and maker of man, you created me and made me and said "it is good." Yet sin defaces the image of God in me, and even worse, brings shame and drives me to hide from your presence. Today give me the courage to be honest in your presence knowing that I have an advocate on my behalf in heaven. You are a great king, but also a loving Father. Teach me to honestly acknowledge my emotions, but not to be ruled by them. Amen.

If this thought encourages you, make it a point to pass it on to one other person today!