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Digging Deeper with Jr. High Kids

Some great advice on how to did deeper with Jr. High students.

Leverage your Influencers
There is always ‘that kid’ in your group. The one that seems to set the tone. The one everyone takes their cue from. You might have more than one. And that can be helpful. But there is usually at least one.

Rather than leaving their response to chance, you could shoulder tap that kid and challenge them to really contribute to this conversation. In fact, you think so highly of them, you want them to share first on a particular topic. Then give them the question and allow them time to consider their answer. Leverage their influence by leading them to set the right tone for group discussion.

– See more at: http://leadsmall.org/elementary/going-deeper-with-tweens/#sthash.TLHZ8scV.dpuf

The Lead Small Culture Book Club

I am really excited to start this new year off by joining many other kidmin and youth min. leaders (last time I checked it was over 900), as we read through Creating A Lead Small Culture together through an online book club. I have already read through this book once fully and the second time was a brief synopsis for another leader in a smaller church looking to implement Orange philosophy and the 252 Basics curriculum into their program. The book is full of great tips on how to connect your leaders with the kids they serve on a deeper level and how they can partner with parents so that together they can create more opportunities for spiritual development and deeper understandings on how God is at work in their lives everyday.

Every kid needs to be known by someone and to belong somewhere.

Most leaders agree. That’s one reason for a shift in the way many churches are discipling their kids and teenagers. Think of it this way: connecting kids and teens to a consistent leader who believes in God and believes in them is something the church can do that nothing else in culture does.

Here is how my next eight weeks are looking.

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As I started Session One today I have already had a couple questions jump out at me and cause me to strongly reflect how Life Groups (We use Life Groups instead of Small Groups in the hopes that these groups will continue to grow together and do life together), function in our kidmin department.

The very first question is a tough one for many leaders because they simply want kids and parents to attend everything possible that happens within the church walls.

If kids only show up at church one time a week and experience one environment or participate in one activity, where would you tell them to go?

Wowzers, yep they said what every leader dreads to ask, or even think about. The thought that a family or a child might only pick one of the many great things that your ministry does. I have been wrestling with this question for months now:

How do we plan our ministries better to help families leverage their time together so that they spend more time as a family?

Think about it:

Kids ministry is one day, or night,
Youth Ministry is on one or two other nights.
Men’s ministry happens,
Women’s Ministry is another,
and church is on Sundays,

oh yeah don’t forget about after school activities and extra curricular activities.

Add all those days up and well you have one very exhausted and overwhelmed family.

Your greatest asset to building faith in the next generation is not your Bible study, worship band, facilities, or budget. The most valuable resources you have to help people see God are the people in your church who know God. (pg. 33)

How do you react to that statement? With relief? Hesitation? Excitement? Explain Why?

What are your biggest obstacles when trying to connect every kid with a consistent adult leader?

What are some of your ideas so far for overcoming those obstacles?

Those are the main questions that I am going to be wrestling with this week. I want nothing more for my kids in our kidmin than for them to experience God through the caring adults that are in their lives. That is how they will understand who God is, how we works in their lives, and how He loves them unconditionally. By learning about God in a relational context I hope that our kids learn about a relational God that wants to have a consistent two-way relationship with them.

(more…)

The Continued Crucifying Of Rob Bell, And What It Says About The State Of Modern Christianity

A great article that is very much worth the read.

Rob Bell’s sin, was simply that he didn’t stick to the script.

 

He deviated. He dared to ask questions. He challenged the status quo. He moved against the grain.

 

He went rogue and everything went South, (or rather, went to Hell).

 

 

The Continued Crucifying Of Rob Bell, And What It Says About The State Of Modern Christianity.

RePost: Media Journal – Home by Foo Fighters

*This was a post I originally wrote two years and as I was listening to this song this morning on my commute to work I was taken right back to all these thoughts and connections.


I mentioned in my last post that I have been writing in a media journal since I have finished ‘The Day Metallica Came To Church and I thought I would go over how this has helped me formulate teaching series. I have also found that the songs that have been sticking in my head when I hear them often have to do with something that is going on in my life whether it is evident to me at the time, or not.

Here are the notes that I had made for the song Home by Foo Fighters off their album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.

First, I start by writing out the lyrics from the song down the middle of the page. As I journal I have the song playing on repeat to listen for those key lines that speak louder than the rest.

Wish I were with you

I couldn’t stay

Every direction

Leads me away

Pray for tomorrow

But for today

All I want is to be home

Stand in the mirror

You look the same

Just lookin’ for shelter

From cold and the pain

Someone to cover

Safe from the rain

All I want is to be home

Echoes and silence

Patience and grace

All of these moments

I’ll never replace

No fear of my heart

Absence of faith

All I want is to be home

Ooh

All I want is to be home

People I’ve loved

I have no regrets

Some I remember

Some I forget

Some of them living

Some of them dead

All I want is to be home 

Secondly, I turn to by Bible. This is an interesting point as I was on a Lead 222 Leaders Talk yesterday Walt Mueller was talking about how starting the day with a paper in one hand and a Bible in the other was key to how he looks at today’s culture while keeping a biblical worldview. That is how this step works for me.

For example, when I first starting hearing this song speak to me and stay in my mind I was drawn to Luke 15:11-32 and the Parable of the Lost Son. I’ll read the story twice and look to see if there are any tangible connecting points. When I find them I bring out the crayons and start to make a mind map between the lyrics and the Words of God.

It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

For me I saw a connection between the words, ‘Wish I were with you / I couldn’t stay / Every direction /

Leads me away / Pray for tomorrow / But for today / All I want is to be home, and the passage found in Luke 15:12-16. In both instances we have someone that has left where they were and then longed for a return. I also like the ‘Pray For Tomorrow’ line as it speaks towards searching for a way out of the situation that is beyond our own understanding and lies only in the power of prayer. ‘But For Today,‘ there is a longing to return home to the life that was left behind.

“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.

Verses 17-20 speak of the change the son wants to make within his own situation. I saw a parallel with the third verse, ‘Patience and grace / All of these moments / I’ll never replace / No fear of my heart /Absence of faith.‘ Each one of us comes to a point where we come to our senses and realize that we need to make a decision that is practical whether that is moving forward towards ‘home,‘ or turning away from sin. However the moments that we have gone through will never be replaced, but they will teach us something about ourselves and shape the future that we are moving towards.

“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’

“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

The second verse of the song, (‘Stand in the mirror / You look the same / Just lookin’ for shelter / From cold and the pain / Someone to cover / Safe from the rain / All I want is to be home’), for me spoke of the way the father speaks of his son in his return. Even though the son sees himself as a different person the father welcomes back his son without question. He recognizes his son right away and gives him shelter, clothes and food, the very thing the son was longing for. Their could have been a disowning, or a beating based on the culture of the time for the son in the story, but the Father went against the cultural norm and gave his son a welcoming and loving embrace while saying, ‘Welcome home son.” I love how Mark Driscoll explains the grace that is given in this instance,

Now some of you say, “He doesn’t deserve that!” That’s grace. Grace is unmerited. Grace is undeserved. Romans tells us that it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance. This dad is going to be kind and gracious to this boy, and that kind grace is going to continue to change him. It’s the same kind grace that caused him to come home. It will compel him to continue with his father.

I have always found it interesting what songs stick out to me on albums and when this song resented more than the others I was intrigued. It is the slowest and softest on the album with a prominent piano accompaniment that makes it extremely memorable. However, I do think that it is the story within the song that keeps it in my memory. There are many stories at work here a story of growth, a story of wanting acceptance, a story of wanting comfort a story that can only be felt through a loving embrace. The Parable Of The Lost Son is all of these stories with a direct teaching point. Grace is given to us through repentance and a death of ourselves. Through that we are given an eternal home that we are all longing and living for.

This is where my next step would come. I would look at the words or themes most common in the media source and reference as many verses that come to mind. For this song the word I focused on was ‘home,‘ so I looked for verses that spoke into the theme of going home.

I looked at the story of Abraham being called by God to leave his home and to move on to a home that was being prepared for him and his descendants.

Gen. 12:1 – God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you. (Message)


I also looked at the promises that God made to Jacob.

Gen. 31:3 – That’s when God said to Jacob, “Go back home where you were born. I’ll go with you.”  (Message)

Here are some other verses that I came across.

Isa. 35:8-7 There will be a highway called the Holy Road. No one rude or rebellious is permitted on this road. It’s for God’s people exclusively— impossible to get lost on this road. Not even fools can get lost on it. No lions on this road, no dangerous wild animals— Nothing and no one dangerous or threatening. Only the redeemed will walk on it. The people God has ransomed will come back on this road. They’ll sing as they make their way home to Zion, unfading halos of joy encircling their heads, Welcomed home with gifts of joy and gladness as all sorrows and sighs scurry into the night. 

I was also amazed by the amount of verses that spoke of Jesus teaching, or healing someone and then sending them home to spread the news of what had happened in their life. For example,

Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave—too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him. (Luke 8:37-39) 

Jesus knew exactly what they were thinking and said, “Why all this gossipy whispering? Which is simpler: to say ‘I forgive your sins,’ or to say ‘Get up and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both. . . .” He now spoke directly to the paraplegic: “Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he did it—got up, took his blanket, and left for home, giving glory to God all the way. The people rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then also gave glory to God. Awestruck, they said, “We’ve never seen anything like that!” (Luke 5:22-26) 


There is also the story of the ‘Lost Sheep’ in Luke 15:4-7

“Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. 

Ephesians tells us of the new home Jesus is building within us all.

That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

1 Peter 2:11-12 tells us that this world is not our home at all.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.

This idea of longing for a home has been built and nurtured within us by a loving Father. God wants us all to follow him to our eternal home and just like the song by the Foo Fighters we all find those moments where we have lost ourselves and wondered away from the home we are longing for. However as the ‘Parable of the Lost Son’ teaches us our heavenly Father has given us the gift of grace that allows us to repent of our lost ways and to return to his loving embrace.

This has been my journalling journey that I have been on. The entries are not everyday, but when they are I get to enjoy the words of God both in the Bible and in the world that is happening around me.

Ad of the Day: Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat | Adweek

“From my first at bat until my final out, you helped make me who I am,” JETER

There will never be a player that earns as much #RE2PECT as Jeter. This is a sad week for any baseball fan as we gear up for his last game.

You may hate the Yankees, but I truly will never understand a baseball fan who says they did not like him. You may hate the plays that he pulled off in the field against your favorite team, or hated that clutch November home run, but Jeter made baseball better.

These ads explain it all.

via Ad of the Day: Gatorade’s Epic Farewell to Derek Jeter Will Be Tough to Beat | Adweek.

#GLS14 Session 1 Notes – Bill Hybels : “Hard-Fought Leadership Lessons”

“Pretty much everything that matters in this world, rises and falls on leadership.”

With those words Bill Hybels opened up the Global Leadership Summit this year and immediately I was hooked. I love listening to Bill as a teacher because you know he speaks from authority, passion and experience. Add into that a great deal of vulnerability and rawness to the stories he shares and you have a great recipe for an opening session. The summit would be built on the idea that humility will be the key to learning between business and church leaders over the next couple of days.

Bill’s prayer – “Speak to us and we will listen and obey.”

Question: Is all leadership intensely spiritual? (True or False)

  • Leadership falls in feelings and spirit. (How it makes you feel and how it moves you to action)
  • All decisions and objectives are hinged on how it makes you feel.

Question: Leaders are visionaries by definition? (True or False)

  • Adrenaline comes with progress made towards a vision or objective.
  • However, vision can soon consume us and change the mood and feelings of the team we are leading.
  • This can cause struggles in how the team feels towards you and the vision as a whole.
  • High visionaries have a hard time understanding the feelings of their team.

Often leaders with the highest level of vision and passion have the lowest level of awareness and passion for the spirit of the team they’re leading.

*Questions that I had personally is how do visionaries handle issues of their heart? Where is the split between personal feelings and the feelings that are sole intended towards their vision? How easy is it for them to differentiate the two?

Do we ask our workers to work more while we care  less?

THE KEY IS THAT GOD CARES ABOUT PEOPLE NOT THE VISION

  • Don’t make people pay because of your fire for a vision. People come first!

 

5 Key Commitments To Make

  1. Use an outside firm to question the engagement level of your staff
  2. The entire executive team has to own the “turn-around.
    1. The culture of the organization will only be as healthy as your Sr. Leader desires it to be.
  3. Get real serious about training everyone on staff who manage people.
    1. People join organizations, they leave managers.
  4. Raise the level of candor in the twice-a-year performance reviews.
    1. Three words to use in reviewing staff
      Stop (doing some negative desired behavior)
      Start (doing something different)
      Continue (praise)
    2. Every staff member wants to know how they are doing and if what they do matters
  5. A ruthless commitment to resolving relational conflict regardless of how scary it feels.
    1. In the average Christian organization 54% are engaged in their work and excited about their work. 30% in the corporate world.

“Great leadership is by definition relentlessly developmental.”

Five key ways to develop a new leader.

  1. Put them in high-challenge roles
  2. Assign them to a short-term task force
  3. Give real-time feedback
  4. Provide them with coaches mentors
  5. Offer them classroom courses and seminars

Short Term Task Force to see how well emerging leaders can handle themselves in real work environments.

  1. Success and failure both need to be an option
  2. They need to be given full charge
  3. Wide variety of people on the team and that they have the opportunity to work with.
  4. Real pressure of a looming deadline.
  5. The end of the project needs to be reviewed by a Sr. Leader of the staff

Resourcefulness is a key trait for any leader.

  • Figure it out… And don’t call me. (this would become the inside joke of the summit)
  • How do we put new leaders into situations where they don’t know what to do?
  • When was the last time that you gave an emerging leader an opportunity with a short term task force?

John 10 – Two types of shepherds

11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

  1. A) Hirelings – They don’t care about the flock. Look out for themselves first
  2. B) Owner – They care about the longevity of the team and vision of the organizations.

 

We need to start mastering the art of discerning these two types of team players as leaders.

This will allow us the opportunity to start training up LEGACY LEADERS

  • Legacy leaders want to give their one and only life to a cause bigger than themselves.
  • Legacy leaders work for the grander vision.
  • Legacy leaders are the only ones wiling to pay the price to fix a broken culture.

These leaders will be the ones that care about the grander vision?

*What do we want theses legacy leaders to work towards? What vision are we pointing them towards and saying “Figure it out”

The danger with the hirelings is that they would have learned to put their own goals and objectives first from someone,

  • Is it you?
  • We have raised up a generation of leaders who are “me centric.”

No leader will ever drift into being a legacy leader. They need to be trained and raised up by mentors so that they can truly see the grander vision instead of a vision that they interpret as being grand.

 

Question: Have you given any thought to your legacy plan? Are you training any legacy leaders to take over your visions?

 

James 1:12 – Legacy and endurance

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

The grander the vision the bigger the price tag.

  • Have you built an endurance plan into your vision?
  • How are you going top keep your heart and soul solid as you peruse the grander vision?
  • How are you going to preserve the hearts and souls of your team in the pursuit of the vision?
  • Have you thought about…
    • Burn-Out
    • Family time and care
    • Spiritual – Do you still have time for Sabbath and scripture.

Do we make time to not be a leader and seek out being a follower of Christ?

Do we make time for solitude breaks? What is your solitude plan?

 

Do you feel “Exhausted, discouraged and at the door of hopelessness?”

As a leader we need to be humble enough to call for help.

Psalm 34:18

18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

Quote from “Things A Little Bird Told Me” by Biz Stone

Believing in yourself, the genius you, means you have confidence in your ideas before they even exist. In order to have a vision for business, or for your own potential, you must allocate a space for that vision…

Real opportunities in the world aren’t listed on job boards … Inventing your dream is the first and biggest step toward making it come true. 

Biz Stone

Things A Little Bird Told Me

 

As I head into a couple days of extreme learning I am reminded that I am often my worst nightmare. I kill dreams and aspirations even before they leave my brain. They don’t even make it into words. 

My hope for this week at #WCAGLS is that I get the opportunity to dream and allow for space so that my dreams can grow.  

What dream are you as a leader not giving head space to these days? I would love to hear your thoughts.