Archives for January 2010
“Time is on your side”
This one is one of the toughest things to figure out. Time. It seems to be a simple, straightforward, linear, idea. However, if you are a type A driven personality, time is generally a tough thing to understand fully.
At 23, I am at a place where most people wish they could be at. I know I sound like a total jerk but stay with me please. I married a beautiful woman who loves me more than I can imagine, I’m debt free, I have an incredible job in ministry with people that are my biggest fans, and I’m still at the beginning of “real life”. But it’s an extremely difficult place to be at for me. Why? Because of unrealistic expectations that I hold for myself and the inescapable reality of time itself.
Why can’t I have the communication ability of someone who has done this for 30 years? I’ve been at it for 1.3 years.
Why can’t I have some of the deep relationships that other staffers have established? I haven’t been at it long enough.
Why do I struggle to make or feel like I have the support of making certain decisions? Think about the “length of time” and “number” of things on your resume.
The reality is that as much as our personality fights against the certainty of time, it’s still time. It takes time to develop a ton of things that exist in other’s leadership. In The Making of a Leader a book by Robert Clinton, they suggest that there are six phases of how God develops leaders:
- Sovereign Foundations
- Inner Life Growth
- Ministry Maturing
- Life Maturing
- Afterglow or Celebration
Where the Convergence phase is “people’s ministry experiences and their life experiences converge into a specific job or responsibility wherein they draw on all they have learned in order to enjoy maximum effectiveness. This will be the job or role for which leaders are best known and in which they experience their greatest success.”
See how far down the list that Convergence phase is located? Yeah… and yet I know a lot of other young leaders that become increasingly frustrated by the fact that they haven’t had their Convergence phase yet. It’s just takes time. Not to mention, it takes time to get through all those other phases that God desires to take you through.
So here’s a few suggestions when struggling with the issue of time and the fact that you aren’t 75 years old with 50 years of ministry experience under your belt:
- Read someone’s biography-it allows you to understand the development of a leader and how God did things in His timing and how perfectly they culminated. Not to mention it always helps to gain a little perspective.
- Pray-I always feel better when I voice my frustration to God. Granted, he might have a fun answer like He did for Job, but it’s always an encouragement that He’s in charge.
- Reflect-When we look towards the future too much, it causes us to lose focus on some of the victories of the past. I wouldn’t be what I am today without my past. It’s helpful to see ways in which God shaped me through past experiences.
Time is inevitable. You aren’t just going to be a great leader in a year or even (*yikes*) 10 years. But the focusing on the present helps to make your future a lot brighter. So take what seems like an enemy in the clock and make it your friend. Allow your present to be the best time of your life and the future will take care of itself.
So we’ve all heard crazy rumors about this very device.
and I’ve even got a good friend who thinks that it’s going to be something totally different.
But here’s what I think. I think Apple is designing a new way to look at a computer. They want a family device to take media consumption to a whole new place. Think of art, reading, games, television all on one device with the ability to be all-in-one but also peripheral device.
Seems to be an incredible technology upgrade to me.
But what do you think? What does Apple have up their sleeve?
This week I’ll be doing a series of posts on “Leading when you’re Young”. I am 23 years old and am a leadership nutjob. I love to read, probably bordering on unhealthy amounts of leadership material. From business to church, sales to service, profit to non-profit, it all is interesting to me. I hope to give some encouragement and share some struggles of leading when you are young.
And if you’re young and in leadership, hang in there. It takes time, and that is the hardest thing for me to remember.
Well this picture represents what most of think of, when we think of teenagers. Goofy, awkward, slight immature, yet full of potential. I figure I would use myself because well I like to think I am a kid at heart. O, and well, I bear a striking resemblance to….well…..uh….a teenager.
But leveraging our influence to develop these young people. Giving them an opportunity to learn about ministry. Learning the ins and outs and what serving God is all about. But being honest, alot of times, kids and students end up being used more than developed into spiritual leaders. It starts out really honest, we want to develop the potential that we see in our kids and students. But over time the day to day gets in the way of training.
When I worked at the Brown, aka UPS we were told as sup’s we were to spend 70% of our time on training. Why? Because without our people, it doesn’t work. But getting people in the right spots isn’t training. Getting people aligned with their gift set isn’t training. Training is training.
Here’s a few tips to check your influence and make sure you are developing rather than using your students and kids in ministry.
1)What: What do you spend the majority of your time with these young people doing? What is it that you are “doing” with them and not only that but what specifically are you trying to develop in them? Is it time management, communication, classroom management, or none of the above? Keep the what in focus. What is your purpose?
2)Who: Who is it that you are developing? Did they fall in your lap? Or did you hand select them? Generally taking part in the selection process tends to nip this using thing in the bud. Why? Well because you personally picked them and have more of an idea of your purpose. You picked these young people and you know the reason and the intent.
3)Where: This seems a bit odd, but generally if your “mentoring” only takes place on a Sunday and on campus. Then most likely it’s not mentoring. Go offsite, it shows the people you are pouring into that you see that they are valuable.
Those are things that I would continue to check myself on. Keep those in focus and come up with a plan and strategy. Set a time and pour into these young people.
I had people do this for me, they cared for me and invested time and money into my development. But I’ve also been used before. A lot actually. And we wonder why young people sometimes have problems with authority? Leverage your influence. There are young folks out there dying for someone to see potential in them and give them some guidance.
Decided on another random pic for Kenny 🙂
I know that most here will give you some awesome illustrations of this very thing for their own kids. But I am deciding to give you some of my own. I don’t have kids and a lot of people call me a kid so I think it’ll work.
I remember a SS (that’s Sunday School) teacher that I had when I was a young boy. His name was Charlie Bishop. He worked with his hands, in fact two of the fingers on his right hand were injured at work. He created marvelous things out of wood. He was there all the time, every Sunday and I remember how endeared we were to him. He made different kids different things. But for me he had made a case to hold my Hotwheels in. I still have those things at my parent’s home in Memphis.
I will never, ever forget Charlie Bishop.
I wish I could tell you how incredible a communicator he was or how this one particular thing he did for me was more incredible than the others, but honestly there wasn’t any of that. He was consistent, humble, and he loved us.
He invested in my life as a very young boy and he prayed every Sunday for us to know God. As I got older I had fewer and fewer interactions with him but I always remembered the impact that he had on my life.
Then in different stages of my life, I would have someone else there to guide me on my way.
Now I am searching for more influencers to help guide me into being a great husband, and one day a father.
And we must focus the same efforts for our children. Helping put coaches, mentors, and teachers in place that will partner with the parents to develop a child.
It can’t just be one, there have to be more. Eventually kids will look elsewhere. Instead of fighting, help find people that those kids can run to who you can trust and will be a positive influence.
It’s true that it takes a village. But you can be the village idiot by being unaware or fighting against it. Or you can be a village leader by using the situation to benefit your child.
So like Kenny so aptly put it, church has stepped into the role of primary spiritual leader in the life of children and students. And it’s true but in order to step out of that role we have to stop being that for parents. I mean think of the things that the church has in place: Recreation, Teaching times, How to serve, Time Management workshops, Math Tutoring, etc.
Yet we expect for Parents to lead the Spiritual Development of their children. I think the thing that most of the people in this Orange Week will tell you is this:
There is no magic “(insert thing, program, event, curriculum)” that will solve this issue. But somehow we have to make that shift. We have to put the power back in the hands of the people that 79% of kids say they look up to the most, their parents.
But how do we put the power back with the parents. I’ll give you a couple ways that I see it happening.
1)Connecting with Parents-One of the flaws in the traditional childrens/student ministry setting is the lack of connection parents have with the ministry. *unless they are volunteers of course 🙂
We have to find a way to give Parents tools to deal with the issues that their kids are going through. I’ll give you a good place to think about:
Kids now spend more time online than watching television. That is completely opposite of their Parents. How can we equip parents to connect with their kids and set limits and consequences in an area that children are really the experts?
2)Re-prioritize-quick think about this particular work week. How much of your time is directly focused on parents? Probably not much huh? Yet, we expect Parents to step up to that spiritual leader role, but we spend most of our time preparing to be in that role on a Sunday morning. And just so you know, I am right here with you. What does that look like? What is something tangible that I can do for parents that will help me get my priorities aligned.
3)Pray and Think-It’s a big issue. It’s a big problem. It needs to be solved. There is a way. Pray and find some people to connect with that can help you brainstorm through some things. You aren’t alone in ministry. There are plenty of PEOPLE to help you. Here’s a couple of places to start if you don’t know:
As a young person in ministry. Don’t blame someone else because they don’t come to you. Go find someone to help you.
Refining the message. This transition is probably the thing that I look forward to the most.
I think as a teacher we always want to make things attainable, clear, and concise for those that learn from us. But at times we get in the bigger is better mentality or the more is more line of thinking.
But the reality is that Jesus, who I’m sure most would agree, we can glean a lot from the way he taught others, had two things for us to focus on.
Refining the message means being able to focus in on some areas that you can focus on developing in kids or students. I like to call them core values.
However, transitioning to this place takes time (a theme in any type of transition) and long range planning. And that means honesty and openness and the willingness to learn something about an area that might not deal with your particular focus in ministry.
But establishing core values from birth to 18 helps so many areas of ministry. Production, Curriculum development, Events, and Prayer.
And while smaller seems like less, it’s really not. Think of a magnifying glass. The more focused the beam of light, the quicker those ants burn….uh…I mean the more concentrated power of the beam.
And that’s what refining the message is all about.
So Integrated Strategy? The ol’ two heads are better than one thing huh? But is that how it really is? Yeah unless someone gets in the way.
I’ll start with probably my favorite Emerson quote:
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”
Are you willing to go through this? Because this is what Orange is about. It always seems so easy from the outside to see what family ministry looks like. The family experience, the seamless communication between children’s and students, and how everything seems to just work so gosh darn well. But in reality there is a struggle.
Reaching families for the gospel of Christ and giving them the resources to bring about change in their own family is not an easy task. It takes a concerted effort to get there. It takes more than one group and more than one event and more than one idea to bring this goal to fruition. Things that your group might see as completely beneficial may have more holes than you think. Your “golden calf” of an idea that works for your area might have to be lost in order to gain partnership with parents. Your comfort zone will be breached and you will gain some much needed perspective. But are you willing to go through it. Cuz as I’m sure most of the bloggers during Orange week will attest. It ain’t easy, but it’s good.
So here are the 3 struggles that I see switching from children/student to family ministry integrated strategy will include:
Communication-being more honest with others and yourself. you need to bring all of your thoughts to the table. You might see something that no one else does and it needs to be communicated. You’ll have to be open to hearing and receiving other’s ideas and being open to change things that “we’ve always done”.
Time-the turnaround on things has to be lengthened because their are more parties involved. The transition itself takes time. And the meetings….argh.
Conflict-anything that’s worth doing involves conflict, but because it’s so new it will be tougher than most of what you’ve experienced.
But those things that are a part of the process. And the payoff is tremendous. You discover more about yourself and your team and those golden calves are destroyed and get turned into glorious sacrifices. The communication gets better, the time is worth it and the conflicts produce growth. And in the end you have a strategy that both parties can agree on to reach the goal of partnering with parents in the spiritual development of their children.
So are you willing to lose some things in order to gain something much greater?