One of my all-time favorite books in the Bible is the book of Proverbs. What I love most about it is that there are hundreds of bite-size nuggets that give you so much to think about in just a few words, nuggets that are key to living a successful Christian life.
Over the last couple of days I have had the privilege of reading through the new book by Jim Wideman entitled, “Tweetable Leadership”. When I received it in the mail, I opened it up and immediately felt right at home as I saw literally hundreds and hundreds of bite-size statements packed with wisdom and knowledge on how to be a successful leader within Children’s Ministry.
This awesome book is divided up into seven chapters dealing with a wide range of leadership topics such as leading by example, how to keep your life simple to do more, how to stay spiritually healthy, and probably my favorite chapter entitled “What old Jim wishes young Jim knew”. In addition to the bite-size sayings within each chapter, each chapter also concludes with 5 to 6 pages that are traditionally written and packed with insights from Jim.
I would highly recommend that you pick up this book, but I must say that you need to be careful with it. Go ahead and sit down and read through it once, but don’t let the overwhelming amount of information discourage you. This is a lifetime worth of information that you will need to take some time incorporating into your ministry. Take a few of the principles and apply them over a month or so, then continue to add along the way. Trust me, I can honestly say that after 22 years as the children’s pastor here at Fellowship Church, these are the things that will make you very successful over time.
Thanks Jim, for taking the time to put this great book together. I appreciate all that you’ve done for kids ministry in the 19th, 20th and 21st century…just kidding, you’re old but not that old. 🙂
As I discussed in my last blog, Children’s Ministry Leaders and Parents must have vision when teaching and raising kids. You must have the vision that, what you pour into a child today, makes an impact in their life tomorrow. At Fellowship Church, we have a firm commitment to reach the next generation of leaders and we feel like the best way to reach 3-13 year old’s is through technology, specifically, a free kid’s website they can access any time, anywhere, and on any device. For us, that is LeadershipForKids.com. While in the past we offered this tool for a small cost, we decided, in order to reach the widest audience possible, we would make the website free. Yes, FREE!
As a parent myself, I cannot stress how important the Bible lessons on LeadershipForKids.com are to the life of a child. Most parents will download apps for their children to keep them distracted, or entertained, but these apps are not necessarily teaching children valuable lessons they will need in life. Instead, I encourage parents to go to LeadershipForKids.com, hand the child the phone or tablet, and let them watch a video based toward their specific age group. LeadershipForKids.com will not only keep your child busy and entertained while you, as the parent, are driving to school or making dinner, but LeadershipForKids.com will also help your child learn valuable Leadership Traits from the Bible. These Leadership Traits will ultimately help your child become a leader who makes a difference in this world.
I have been doing Children’s Ministry for over 21 years here at Fellowship Church, and I have discovered that there is one truth that will always stay the same: Learning about God is life-changing! So help change the lives of the children around you by registering and using the site today, and by sharing LeadershipForKids.com with everyone you know!
LeadershipForKids.com is the at-home portion of the Elevate curriculum. To learn more about the curriculum itself go to ElevateAtChurch.com.
Children’s Ministry leaders and parents, more than anyone else, understand vision. You must have vision when you are working with kids because although you teach kids to love God and love others, you won’t always see immediate results or changes in their lives. As parents and as Children’s Ministry leaders, you need to have the vision that what you are doing now will make an impact in a child’s future. You have to trust that, over time, everything you pour into the life of a child will come out in a positive way.
I saw an example of the legacy left in the life of a child this summer at FC Kids Camp. This year at Allaso Ranch, more than 50 students and adults who attended Kids Camp as a child over the past 21 years, returned to volunteer, as seen in the video above. Why? So they could share their passion for loving God and loving others with children 2nd through 5th grade, so they could hand the legacy off to the next generation. When these students and adults were young, we looked at them and asked ‘are they really getting it?’ and now we can see that they did. These volunteers, because they have lived it, understand why we do what we do in the lives of children and they want to do their part in helping continue the legacy to make a difference in the life of a child.
Because I’ve been doing Children’s Ministry at the same church for 21 years, I was personally able to see these children grow up in the church and come back to serve at camp. However, I know this group of 50 people is only a small portion of those we poured our time and knowledge into. I know there are hundreds or even thousands of kids that have moved elsewhere, who I won’t ever see the fruit of our labor in their lives. So although it’s about leaving a legacy, even more, it’s about having the vision to understand that you are making a difference in the future of these kids, even when you don’t see the fruit now. You need to persevere with the great calling you have been given as a parent and as a Children’s Ministry leader because what you do in the life of a child does matter.
You may not always see the fruit of your labor on earth, but you will when you get to heaven. When you stay committed to God and to church you will be able to more successfully stay focused on the vision God has given you. When you invest your time and knowledge into the life of a child, that child will grow up and have the opportunity to impact others. And before you know it, the legacy of loving God and loving others that you left with one child is being passed down for generations to impact hundreds and potentially thousands of people. Stay committed to the vision and know that you are making a difference.
Other than cats, probably the most popular videos on the internet are fail videos. These are usually humorous, sometimes scary videos where someone is usually trying to do something either dangerous, stupid, or both, and it often goes predictably and horribly wrong. As we watch the video, many times we see and realize what is about to happen and we either laugh or cringe, knowing that there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. But in real life, instead of watching a fail happen and being glad it wasn’t us, we need to realize that we have the chance to step in and stop it from happening.
As Christians we understand that God’s Word gives us guidelines that will help us avoid many things in life that will cause us to fail. We also understand that we have an opportunity to share those guidelines with others. But unfortunately, many times we don’t speak up and warn our friends when we see them about to fail. Then, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly, we watch their lives fall apart.
It is increasingly difficult to stand up for the truth that is in God’s Word without being called a radical, a bigot, or troublemaker. It happened to Elijah and it most certainly will happen to us. In today’s story, the king was angry with Elijah for being a messenger of God’s word. Ahab called Elijah a troublemaker. But Elijah didn’t back down. He continued to speak the truth even though many of the people didn’t listen. It’s not our job to convince people, but it is our responsibility to speak out. Leave the convincing to God’s Holy Spirit. Just speak the truth simply and lovingly and challenge people to try it God’s way. When you do, you might just save a friend from a life-changing fail.
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 (NLT)
Have you had conversations like these?
“Are you ready to go?”
“Good. Let’s go.”
“First I have to find my shoes and go to the bathroom.”
“Are you ready for dinner?”
“Okay, but let me go and get something out of the car first.”
If you recognize yourself in any of these lines, you and/or someone close to you does not know the definition of the word, “ready.” When you are ready, there is nothing left that needs to be done “first” because you have already done all of those things ahead of time. But the question for today is: “How can we be ready for things that we don’t know are coming?” I have found that there is really only one way to prepare for the unknown. You prepare for the unknown by making sure you are doing all of the basics with intensity and focus. For example, a team preparing for a playoff game when the opponent has not yet been determined will not slack off in practice, instead it will focus with intensity on the basics of the game.
In our Christian life we need to buckle down on the basics. One of the most “basic” of the basics is church attendance. You need to commit to be at church. Don’t miss. But, you also need to focus on the basics outside of church as well. You need to study the Bible at home, pray, read the Bible with your children or family, and share what you have learned with others.
We get ready for what God has for us in the future by doing what God has for us now. In the Bible, David worked and excelled at what God had for him when he was younger. He worked at the basics of being a shepherd. He may have dreamed about one day doing something else, but he didn’t use that dream for the future as an excuse for slacking off in the present. He stuck to the basics and those basics one day helped him defeat Goliath.
When you do the basics of the faith with intensity, you will be ready for anything that God asks you to do, which, is a very good thing.
After all, when God says it’s time to go and do something great, you don’t want to have to be looking for your shoes…
“You must worship only the Lord your God. He is the one who will rescue you from all your enemies.” 2 Kings 17:39 (NLT)
The Exodus is such an inspiring story that it is known across the entire world, even by those who have no connection to the Christian or Jewish faith. What is interesting, is that many of the details of the story could apply to us in our modern culture. Here is one such example. The Israelites were enslaved by the nation of Egypt. They were laborers, and their sweat and toil was nearly unbearable. Moses came and requested that they would be able to leave and worship God, but Pharaoh responded by impossibly increasing their work schedule and cutting their supplies. It is possible that Pharaoh believed the Israelites would abandon their thoughts of worship with the crushing demands of a new schedule.
This should sound familiar. Think about it. We too are weighed down with impossible schedules and dwindling supplies of time and energy. When we attempt to set aside time for worship, the world looks at us as time wasters, telling us that we are missing out on the important things of life. In response, we become our own taskmasters. We fill our schedules and calendars with every extracurricular activity, every club, every sport, every trip, every concert, every outing. However, we must realize that this type of schedule does not make us free. It makes us slaves. Many believers have allowed their families to become slaves to a schedule that keeps them from making God and His Church the center of their lives as it should be.
One thing that you need to do is set yourself free from the tyrannical forces that want you to give up the ONE day that God asks you to worship each week. Walk away from anyone or anything that pushes you to constantly give up worshiping God at church. If you do, God will walk with you, and I promise that walking with God and worshiping Him will lead you to a new kind of life – just like it did for the people of Israel.
Proverbs 10:9 “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” (NLT)
Read 1 Samuel 17.
Opportunities to be dishonest occur every day, and dishonesty isn’t always about verbally telling lies. Dishonesty can be taking credit for work you didn’t do, not following through on a promise you made, or even something as simple as not completely obeying traffic signs while driving. Choosing to be honest with your words and your actions is a struggle you will have every day and even multiple times a day. But living your life with that kind of honesty is what sets you apart as a person of integrity and a follower of God. And that’s what set David apart in this Bible Story. David saw a problem and presented his solution. He said he would fight Goliath. And even though there were ample opportunities to back out or run away from the fight, David was a man of his word. He fought Goliath and won. It was qualities like integrity which caused God to see David as more than a simple shepherd boy. God saw David as the next king of Israel!
Read Proverbs 10:9. Spend time this week paying close attention to your words and your actions. Are you speaking and acting honestly? Do people know you to be a person of integrity? Pray that God will show you how you can improve.
Note: This devotional is taken from the Elevate series, Dojo Kids.
1 Peter 2:17a “Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.” (NLT)
Read 2 Kings 2:19-25.
When is a joke not a joke? How far is too far? When does saying, “I’m just kidding,” become an excuse for saying whatever we want?
It comes down to respect. What happened to Elisha was not a simple case of name-calling. Read 2 Kings 2:25 again. There were at least forty-two boys in this gang, maybe more! Can you imagine being stalked and yelled at by more than forty people? This was a threatening situation that had everything to do with respect. These boys were not just showing disrespect for a balding man, they were showing disrespect for the representative of God. The SAME God that had used this man to save their city from a poisonous water supply!
These boys were showing disrespect to God when they showed disrespect to Elisha and we do the same thing when we disrespect others. In 1 Peter 2:17 we are commanded to respect everyone. Our family. Our friends. Our church leaders. Our employers. Even politicians whom we disagree with. Yes, even the one you are thinking of right now! Everyone.
So regardless of who someone is, what they have done, or if we agree with them, as followers of Christ we should treat all people with respect. Don’t cause God to call out a bear out on you!
Note: This devotional is taken from the Elevate series, Dojo Kids.
1 Peter 4:19 “So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” (NLT)
Read Acts 14:8-20.
Before starting any task, most people will decide on some limits. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we decide how many problems we are willing to deal with before we will give up.
“I’ll work until I feel tired. I’m sorry, I didn’t expect it to be so hot today. I need to take a break. Oh, it looks like it’s about to rain, I guess I need to quit working for the day.”
It’s easy to invent excuses the moment something becomes a little bit difficult. However, when it comes to doing what is right, excuses and quitting should be the last thing on our minds. In this Bible Story, Paul had what most would call a legitimate reason for giving up, the people had tried to kill him! But bloody and bruised, Paul got up and went back into the city. He continued telling others about Jesus and no excuse would make him give up. We should have that same attitude. We have the same mission that Paul had: To tell others about Jesus herbal slimming tablets. And we should never choose to give up on that mission.
Read 1 Peter 4:19. What are some things you feel like giving up on as you strive to do what is right? Spend time in prayer this week asking God to help you to endure. Pray for the strength and patience you will need to continue. Put your life into His hands knowing He will never fail you.
Note: This devotional is taken from the Elevate series, Dojo Kids.