I have always been a fan of Twitter. As a reader, I love the brevity as a writer I love the forced clarity. 140 characters is not a lot of real-estate it forces you to think before you type. When you read someone’s Twitter feed what you get is a condensed form about what they are most passionate. Through videos, links and pithy quotes you get a good sense of what they love most.
With Jim Wideman, you get that loud and clear. You get that he is passionate about building the church, loving his family, helping folks grow. One of the things I love most about Jim is he isn’t someone who gets stuck. He learns from others as much as he helps others. I first meet Jim on Twitter a platform that was touted by the experts as a tool to be used by people far younger than he. Jim did as he does with most things jumped on to see what the fuss was. Turns out Twitter was made for Jim. If you hang out with Jim for any amount of time, you realize that he speaks mostly in Twitter. Most of what he says are profound thoughts that have been honed by time to produce an easy to remember truth that appears simple because it’s so short and memorable. That is far from simple because they represent a truth that is only gotten to by years of experience.
This is the last of the series of posts I have done talking about the three things that have most affected my life and ministry as a result of being part of Infuse. Those three posts.
1. Three things I learned from Infuse: Introduction
2. Three things I learned from Infuse: Ask good questions
3. Three things I learned from Infuse: Staff Level Volunteers
4. Three things I learned from Infuse: Thankfulness
The greatest thing I have learned from Infuse is the discipline of thankfulness. In life and ministry few things will destroy you like a lack of gratitude. Life is tough. Working in ministry can be thankless. The result is that we are tempted to see only the things that are frustrating and everything we see and do is based on that frustration. A lack of gratefulness taints all we do.
Francis Shaeffer says it better than I ever could:
The beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is the lack of a thankful heart.
Tim Keller says:
Worry is not believing God will get it right Bitterness is thinking God got it wrong.
One of the traps the enemy uses to marginalize leaders is envy. If I only had a bigger building. If I only had more staff. If I only had a bigger budget. The reality is that no matter how we don’t like to admit it none of us are immune from these thoughts. I know that I have struggled with each of these at different points in ministry. I remember having a conversation with a kids pastor who had less kids than we had and had 3 staff members to help. I left the call with this overwhelming feeling of frustration and discouragement. I remember actually breaking out a calculator adding up how many kids we had and what my staff to kids ratio should be.
It was on an Infuse call I asked Jim Wideman at what point is it reasonable to get help. Our church had grown and our kids ministry nearly tripled in a few months. Jim said I could use some help that having at least an assistant seemed reasonable but help never came like I expected it.
One of the things I love about going to conferences is coming home with more than I left with. Last week I was honored to be able to help Jim Wideman lead his Infuse 7 retreat. Infuse is like a conference for 20-30 people with fewer main sessions and way more opportunities to connect. I did a couple of breakouts which I enjoyed but I wanted to share with you some of the new things and resources I came away with that will help me and I hope they help you.
If you have never done Infuse and serve in Kids or Youth ministry you need to. It will transform how you lead.