180,000 seconds. 3000 minutes. 50 hours. That’s the amount
of time given to you each week to build into your ministry. 50 hours to make an
impact in the lives of the families in your church by providing for the
spiritual needs of children. 50 hours to make your contacts, pray, invite,
counsel, write letters and do everything you can to let your families and
volunteers know that you are there for them. 50 hours to invest in the lives of
your kids and make a difference in their walk with Christ. 50 hours…seems
like a lot. But if 50 hours is such a long time, why do you usually feel
disappointed each week with the amount of time you actually gave to doing the
things mentioned above? Why, at the end of the week, do you look back and
honestly say that you worked hard, yet you can’t really account for anything
meaningful you did? I’ve found the answer for my own life…Gobblers.
No, I’m not talking turkey. I’m talking about those hungry
little monsters that visit us each week and eat up not only the time allotted
to them but also the time you and I have to devote to ministering to kids. If
you don’t get rid of them you will never accomplish all that God wants for your
ministry. So, how do you keep the Gobblers in check? It begins with knowing who
they are. Here is the first of four Gobblers that seem to hang around Children’s departments a lot. Keep an eye out for it and squash it in its tracks.
Gobbler #1 The
Programming is important…in fact it’s very important. One
of the biggest programming events happens each and every week…the weekend.
It’s the bang, it’s the fun, it’s what the kids love to come and see. Make no mistake;
your weekend programming has to be GREAT! Rolling out a sorry program each week
is a good way to ensure your ministry will never grow. The Programming Pac man
doesn’t address the relevance of your programming. Instead, it sneaks in on you
as you work on the content of your programming. Most children’s ministers
didn’t get into ministry to spend their hours as producers, graphic designers,
or sketch comedy writers (all skills that come in handy when writing a good
weekend lesson). Yet, every week Children’s Pastors across the country sit down
at their computer and spend an inordinate amount of time pounding out the weekend
script and small group lessons. After that even more time is devoted to finding
the multimedia elements to really make the lesson pop. My question is…Why?
I know, I know. The justification and allure of writing your own stuff is so that you can have something that is just the way you want to teach it. But like I said earlier, if you wanted to write for SNL or animate cartoons for Saturday morning, you wouldn’t be in ministry. The truth is there are a lot of good curriculums out there. Pick one. Order sample packets, go
online, study the flow of the material, then try it out for a couple of months.
If it doesn’t work, try another one. Keep trying until you find one that is
easy to use (without having to spend hours rewriting it), works well with your
volunteers and, most importantly, doesn’t take more than about half a day to
get ready. Get it out of the way at the first of the week, and then you will
have the rest of your week to get involved in the lives or your kids. Just
think of what could happen if, instead of using up your creative abilities to
produce the weekend’s lesson, you focused that creative ability on building
meaningful relationships with families and their kids.
This week, focus on protecting yourself from the Programming Pac-man. Over the next several weeks we will look at the other three Time Gobblers. Next week: The Meeting Miser!