Listen: The most important skill you can develop is the ability to listen.
Bonhoeffer says in his book on Christian Community called “Life Together”
So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to “offer” something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Life Together
Learn to listen: One of the most difficult lesson to learn as a young leader is knowing when to speak and when to be quite. Listening is a skill that must be learned if you are to be effective as a leader and if you are to reflect the heart of God. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of giving people answers to their problems or what we perceive their problems to be. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to say that you are sorry and that you will pray for them or to say that you don’t have the answer but you know someone who does. Pat answers can produce a shallow simple faith that when tested will always bend and will often break.
Jesus doesn’t need our help, he’s pretty famous. He needs humble servants to live in a way that makes famous people want what they can’t have. We need to lose ourselves in spreading His fame not obsessing over how our fame can help Him out. Through our desire for personal fame we have made Jesus infamous to a watching world.
Lesson #1 Motivation: who benefits from what i do. – The My kids and the team I am apart of. –
Motivation gets tested early –
Need a kingdom mindset. No job in kids ministry is more important than the other – We are all building the kingdom by using the gifts God has given us
That can feel sort of vague but when you understand who you work for Jesus Christ and who benefits from what you do? Your kids, your pastor and ultimately your church. It helps you with your motivation.
Watch for wrong motivations
God and children share a divine quality – They both have the divine ability to destroy ego.
We all have a very active sin nature and can sometimes think more of ourselves than we should but if you and I want to last for the long haul we need to ask ourselves do I have the same attitude as Christ Jesus? What helps me make it for the long haul reading Philippians 2 and asking God to do this in me.
1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Lesson #2 Maturity: –
If you want to grow as a christian and as a leader you need to learn how to be a self-feeder.
How do you become a self feeder –
1. Read your bible. – Is more than a textbook it’s a guidebook
2. Practice Transparent Faith – TF only takes place in the context of relationship – Find a small group and live transparently.
Do I think we as leaders should talk openly about everything we are dealing with? No. I do think that creating a healthy church environment starts by doing what James tells us to do: confess our sins to each other that we may be healed.
I believe that people who are far from God can identify more with our transparency than they can with our super-spirituality
3. Leverage Collaborative Connections – This is something that was missing from my life up until 5 years ago. I wanted it just didn’t know how to make it happen. – It makes all the difference.
Other kids pastors
You may say I’m just a kids pastor why would I bother using twitter to talk to other kids people. You may not but you can talk to other small group leaders in your church and learn from each other. Ask your leaders questions the more you know the more you grow the better it is for you kids, for your leaders and ultimately the church.
[It’s important that you network and ask others for input children’s ministry can be very isolating you need to make sure you don’t get isolated or overwhelmed because that will lead to discouragement.]
Lesson #3 Dealing with discouragement:
A big reason many leaders quit kids ministry is due to prolonged periods of discouragement.
Early warning signs I look for in myself:
2. Lack of Focus
3. Pessimistic outlook on life
6. Frustrated by small things
I look for any of these things starting to creep up in my life if and when I notice them I realize that the clock is ticking and I need to take steps to counter them or it will only get worse. Here are some of the things I do when I start to see signs of discouragement in my life.
1. Ask God for help
2. Talk to accountability partners and close friends about what I am feeling.
3. Make sure I am reading my bible.
4. I am a big music person – Listening to worship music does wonders for me personally
5. Practice Thankfulness – Jim Wideman taught me this one (to be honest if this is all I learned from Brother Jim it would be enough. This his helped me more than anything. When I feel discouraged thanking God helps me with my perspective.)
6. Spend time with friends and family – nothing helps discouragement more than surrounding yourself with people who know your good, bad and ugly and love you any way.
If you want to last for the long haul and leave a legacy
1. Always support your Pastor. If you find yourself in a place when you no longer do, it’s time that you need to find another Pastor who you can support.
2. Make sure you measure success by the right standards. Tools we use do not measure our effectiveness but by life change that results from the tools we may or may not have.
3. Life change is not measured in weeks and months but rather in years and decades.
4. Your family is the best indication of your success in life and ministry.”
You will have short term successes but true success is not measured in weeks or years but in decades. To see fruit that remains in your life and ministry you need to lead for the long haul.
People don’t notice. – Our church is huge on kids ministry and still some people said to me when I transitioned to campus pastor people said how does it feel to finally be a pastor.
My mom said about the applause of man vs. applause of God.
One of the coolest things I’ve experienced In kids ministry happened to me just this week. In teaching kids you get cards and notes from kids some recognizable some not so much. But for pastor appreciation month one of my volunteer staff made a scrap book of notes kids and volunteers wrote tell of the impact I’ve had on them. What was crazy for me was some of those kids who 13 years ago had made squiggly pictures
What is teamwork? It is crazy messy scary awesome nutty fun amazing powerful and life changing.
Paul talks about the church as a body. An interdependent structure that can only fully function when every part is doing their part.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
A Team is much like that. It functions best when there is cohesion and interdependence.
So what does the Anatomy of a team look like?
1. In the first section we talked about starting with the why – The first thing you need is the mind of Christ. What is the why? What is the dream and the vision God has put in your heart. – Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.
2 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. 3 Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Christ’s Humility and Exaltation
5 Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,
6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.[a]
7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form,
8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross.
9 For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,[b]
to the glory of God the Father.
2. Skeleton of the team – you need structure once you have the mind of Christ you need the processes and the places in place to carry out the dream God has given you.
Externalize everything –
Externalize Structure – build an org chart –
Externalize Expectations – Job descriptions – should have three parts – expectations, accountability and values
3. Structure without tissue is a bit scary you need muscles and tissue and skin.
This is where structure meets ministry. – determine your leadership capacity – if you have 100 kids don’t lead like you have 60 and don’t lead like you have 600 lead like you have 250.
Intentional Mentoring – You only get out what you pour in relationally
You have to move people from incompetence to competence –
Training (How to do meetings)
4. The heart of the team is you.
What is the thing that only you can do – Pump the vision and the values through the veins of your ministry.
The net result is a growing thriving team – it’s not about numbers it’s about health.
When you go home this week.
Get the mind of God for your ministry –
Be the heart that pumps the vision and values into your leadership team
Build the structure that will keep your team together.
Pour into your team – Do what only you can do.
14 I am not trying to make you feel ashamed. I am writing this to give you a warning as my own dear children.15 For though you may have ten thousand teachers in Christ, you do not have many fathers. Through the Gospel I became your father in Christ Jesus,16 so I beg you, please follow my example.17 That is why I am sending to you Timothy, my son in the Lord. I love Timothy, and he is faithful. He will help you remember my way of life in Christ Jesus, just as I teach it in all the churches everywhere.
Teachers here refers to a hired tutor. There is no shortage of hired teachers in the Christian community. There is no shortage of people on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube trying to be the next Christian Justin Beiber. Our culture doesn’t need more tutors. It doesn’t lack for knowledge. It lacks for fathers. It lacks for people who lay down their lives because they would rather see their sons do more and be more than them.
Paul – “rebuking those who, by a misdirected ambition, transferred to themselves the glory that belonged to another.”
Why don’t we release more leaders?
How do we get stuck in being one of many teachers?
1. We want more fans than we do sons. Fans adore us. Sons require something from us. Stats will lie to you. How many followers on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest will seduce you into a trap of false success? Fans praise you. Sons know you.
2. We so often care who gets the credit more than who gets the glory. When we move beyond who did what, who said what, to how can I live my life to bring glory and majesty to Jesus, the better off we will be.
3. We get so caught up in building us and not building the church – we build monuments to ourselves. Don’t trap your best leaders in your system so you can look good and feel safe. Let them go. Release them to serve. Release them to lead.
2 Samuel 18:18
18 During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it in the King’s Valley as a monument to himself, for he thought, “I have no son to carry on the memory of my name.” He named the pillar after himself, and it is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
How do we lead as fathers?
Realize that God is far more interested in our obedience than our success, and He has called us to go and make disciples but first to wait and pray. Sending comes from an understanding of the gospel and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Our going has to empowered by the Holy Spirit’s coming.
Provide an environment where you allow for and expect people to fail. If people don’t fail, they will never succeed because failure increases our dependence on God. Our God is not a tame lion but he’s good.
Give up what you like to build up what you love.
Conclusion – We can only be a father because of the radical love our Father showed us. How can we let go and release our best and brightest? Because God so loved the world that He gave His only son. God loved – He gave.
The audio of this talk is available soon at the INCM store.