Measuring Success-Part Two

****SCROLL DOWN TO READ PART ONE FIRST****

Hopefully you’ve read Part ONE:

here are some of their responses (from my previous post).****

A professor from seminary: Success in ministry is incredibly subjective. It is made more difficult due to the corrupting influence of our culture that want to measure everything objectively (numbers, etc.). By those criteria Jesus was an abject failure. Second, we ministers could take the subjectivity for granted and allow ourselves to become what I call “self-righteously complacent.” Third, no matter how we define success, it is almost always defined for us by others and in terms that are beyond our control. I like the old quote that Jesus called us to be faithful, not successful.

A teacher and a friend: I used to be very concerned about numbers, and that is how I used to measure success. I’ve worked in almost every capacity in the church, and never in a paid position, from being on the board, Sunday school, youth, women, and many others…lol! The Lord has taught me to keep sowing and investing in those that are hungry. I’ve learned not to chase people. I pour, invest, and sow in to those that are hungry! That’s my calling! To equip, build up, and train those in the Body of Christ. To help them mature in their faith…to disciple. Now, if i was an evangelist, and i didn’t see conversions, i’d be concerned… Lol, But i look for fruit. When I see growth in whomever, a teen, a woman in ladies group, a student at school, i know I’m doing what He has called me to do. The lord reminds me that there will be some fruit that I won’t see until heaven, but to continue to sow, pour, and invest no matter what! So…I know how frustrating it is when you give and pour and work your rear off and you don’t see much. But just continue to walk out your call knowing that as you obey and sow, others may water, but is the Lord that causes it to grow! I’m a big believer in, as we do what He has called us to do, and we seek His face, and hear his voice, He will bring the growth. Depth is more important to me. I guess cuz discipleship is my thang! It’s my heart! So… I hope I have helped in some way. Please don’t get me wrong… Conversions are important! Gotta have those before we can disciple. Missions too! That’s gods heart. We should not only be concerned about here, but the lords work around the world. But we must each obey and do what He has called us to do. Walk it out and leave the results up to him!

A S.S. teacher and former pastor’s wife: I have never measured my ministry by numbers. When I first starting ministering as a adult I was teaching Acteens and I would just have 1 or 2 each week. I remember being discourage and the pastor’s wife told me that even if I have 1 it that was my ministry. I measure my ministry by the spiritual growth that is happening. I have had many of those girls that I ministered to on a one on one basis tell me years later how that ministered to them and was instrumental in their spiritual growth. 1 Cor. 3 talks about each has his own task and ministry. We are to be a seed planters & waters and only God can do the growing

A (former) Catholic youth leader: the long answer is that over 10 years at the same parish, i was able to build up strong relationships with the families and much of our success came from being able to work with siblings, as well as families who just knew who i was after so many years of seeing me. i was always very in tuned with the trends in youth ministry and the teens in our area and always tried to adapt and stay a little a head of them. we also asked the teens to help us build the curriculum. i had the sessions that i had to do per the curriculum i had written, but then had a few sessions every year that i would get their input on. i always told the teens that i wanted to put on a program they wanted to go to so getting them vested in some part of the planning process always helped get them there.

the short answer is… i didn’t care if i was successful. Mother Teresa once said, “God doesn’t call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful.”

A S.S. leader and former youth worker: In our humaness I think we judge by all those factors. That’s our human yardstick. We are a results oriented society. We do get discouraged when we don’t see the results we believe we are working to achieve.
In the end analysis (you’re not gonna like this:), I believe we have been successful in ministry (and life) when we are obedient to what God has ask/called us to do. He only holds us accountable for the seed He has ask us to sow. Not for the results of that planting.

Probably not the answer you were looking for….probably hoping for something much deeper…but that’s really what I think. That’s not to disregard examining ourselves, our call, our mission, our motive because it’s so easy to get caught up in “our” idea’s of how “our” work should turn out. I know that I do that, and if after examining myself I determine if I’m on or off course, I have to change what I’m doing (if I’m off) or trust I got the call right and just keep doing it. He always honors our obedience.

A minister’s wife: I think since I have been married to Brian I am learning more and more not to measure success by numbers. I (and I know Bri struggles with it as well) in my fleshly nature want to brag about numbers. When we were at FCC are numbers went up dramatically and it was hard not to brag about it or assume we were doing amazing stuff. But when we really look at things and evaluate we had some people coming just b/c it was fun, many came b/c their friends invited them (success on the kids part)….Now with all that said, it is still important to preach God’s word to these people even if we don’t see fruit during our time with them…so maybe that is success. As I type this maybe success in ministry is doing God’s will in ministry. Now Jesus preached to the multitude, did life with the 12, and did really poured into the 3 so I don’t think we was necessarily looking for numbers. In fact he was so unseeker friendly that he drove away thousands of people b/c he wasn’t willing to waterdown his message.
I think our goal here on earth is to love God and love people the way Jesus did. So maybe that is success if we do that. I mean we want true conversions of course, and we want people to love Jesus of course, and we want hearts to be changed and lives to follow of course, but I don’t know that that is our call. We can do what God has called us to do and share and love and maybe that is success.

A pastor: It’s easy to get discouraged, especially when it seems that there are always the mega-mega-places with their multi-million dollar budgets and more people than they actually minister to. A lot of the rest of us wind up feel inadequate, beat down, unappreciated, and wondering if it is worth it when we aren’t and probably won’t ever be “successful” like that. But here’s what I think it comes down to, ultimately: Were you faithful with the gifts, talents, resources, and place that God put you? I’ll never be a radio preacher. I probably won’t have any books with my name on the byline. Thousands won’t flock to hear me preach in tiny little ___________(town). I don’t think I’m one of the servants to whom the master gave 5 talents. I think I got two, at most. But my calling is to be faithful with the place I have and to faithfully produce a return on the Master’s investment. The so-called “three B’s” (Building, Budgets and Butts in the seats) are a dead end. They won’t matter all that much, in the end, when the Master settles accounts. What will matter a great deal is if you were faithful with the task and the ministry you were given. Did you pour out your life as an offering to God? Did you utilize every talent?

Easier said than done, I realize. On my dark days, I have wondered why I am struggling to see growth in numbers and attendance like I want. Why do some people have 250 people on their first Sunday of their new church plant when I would be happy to see 250 people show up at Easter? I don’t know. Jesus said, “the wind blows where it wishes.” My task is to be faithful to my calling and use my talents to bring God glory.

A youth volunteer: I don’t feel success in ministry is necessarily numbers conversions or attendance. It’s being available as you are needed. You plant one seed even and you are successful. That doesn’t mean you stop but you are successful. We had days we were the only ones in class yet we were available. It is just like Missions, it’s availability. You have to continually be there, be consistent and love them no matter what. If they are right on God’s path for them or if they fell off, love them. You show up with a smile and they will smile with you. It’s contagious! It is their choice you just have to know in your heart you did everything you know to have shown them God’s love! There are days you wonder and there are days you feel defeated but if you allow God to continue to use you doors will open, lives will change and you will see growth in numbers. I just don’t feel success with ministry is in numbers. It is about hearts. That’s why numbers go up and down.

A pastor:First, I believe that churches and Christians should “bear fruit.” Naturally, we want to measure “bearing fruit.” So we debate: do we measure the activities that lead to fruit-bearing, or do we measure the fruit themselves? I would say “both.”

In part, bearing fruit refers to the fruit of the Spirit. These are hard to measure, but I think we should have a sense that we’re growing in these fruit.

“Bear fruit” also means we’re helping others to come into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. As a Wesleyan, I believe we grow in Christ-likeness through the “means of grace” like prayer, searching the Scriptures, Holy Communion, worship, acts of mercy to people in need, etc.

The current measuring stick being touted in the UMC (and I think it’s mostly helpful) points to five “vital signs” of vital congregations. They seem to me to be a combination of fruit-bearing activities and fruit-bearing outcomes.

As to your other question: absolutely I get frustrated by “small numbers.” I’m more frustrated by those who don’t get bothered by them, or rather by the fact that there are people who could connected to Christ and his Church but are not yet connected…and we’re fine with that.

What else can we do?

First, tend your own soul. I can’t help others be disciples if I don’t take my discipleship seriously. Again, in Wesleyan terms, this looks like keeping my love for God alive through the means of grace. This is probably the most important thing.

Second, don’t stop talking about the mission – to make disciples – just because others are not interested. Influence who you can influence. Try to shrug off those who look at you with glazed eyes or the stink eye.

Third, keep inviting people to Christ and into the Christian community…and keep telling other people to do it, too. I don’t know what ministry context you two are serving in (youth?), but you have tell people to invite and show them how to invite.

Finally, be patient. Change and progress, as I’m learning, take time.

Excellent resource:

A pastor and Paul’s best friend: That is a hard one. I guess I try to measure success by how much the kingdom of God is furthered. So if we change negative perceptions about Christianity because of a community event that is a win. If someones life is changed then great. If someone becomes a Christian awesome. ETC. I have started trying to do this because it is harder to quantify. The numbers game is depressing.

***I’m sensing a theme. Perhaps, I should start to listen.

My faith (in ministry) has, unfortunately, been stuck on the idea that success is measured by numbers. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it is a thorn in my side. I think I give it to the Lord (so He can handle it) and yet I still have reign over it. So, I give it up again. And, I take it right back. Over and over again.

My worry over success (for Paul, mainly) is driven by numbers. And, it shouldn’t be. I know that. But, it’s a matter of control. It’s a matter of easily being able to see progress.

Have our numbers at FBC gone up and down dramatically since we’ve been here. Yes. Sometimes we have 10-12 at church. Sometimes we have 3.

It’s the nights we have 3 that really upset me. I show emotion and frustration over those nights.

But, do I show emotion for the nights we have 12? No. Should I? Absolutely.

I should be praising Jesus if we have 3. I should praising Jesus if we have 12.

Regardless, I should be praising Jesus. Because my roots are planted here, and I intend to grow. 

Measuring Success

How do you measure success? More specifically, how do you measure success in ministry? Even if you are not in a paid position at a church, you are still a minister. Therefore, I am sure there has been a time, in your “ministry” that you have wanted to (or had to) measure success? So, how did you do it?

Speaking specifically about youth ministry:

According to many in our American culture, youth ministry numbers seem to stand as THE mark of success. If a youth minister has “X amount” of students coming each week, then he is successful. But, is this always the case? (My mom even makes it a point to ask how many people Paul had in S.S. on any particular Sunday morning).

Is God’s “movement” in your group defined by the number of students attending your program? I would answer, No. God’s “movement” has nothing to do quantity…..but, unfortunately our society sees it differently.

By themselves, numbers do nothing to measure (or even gauge success) in your ministry. They are simply that. A number.

But, we, as the church, have not only allowed society to measure our success via numbers, we have become lazy when it comes to defining success in ministry.

When I was in college (majoring in elementary education) we used the SMART acronym to measure our objectives:

  • Are they specific?
  • Are they measurable?
  • Are they attainable?
  • Are they realistic?
  • Are they timely?

That’s what is used to measure success in the classroom and/or grade level? But, can those be used to measure success in ministry? In some ways, yes they can. But, success in ministry is SO MUCH MORE.

I believe youth ministers should work to set goals for their youth ministry (as a whole) and use those as a way to measure success. Overall, it seems ministries in church (children, music, education, youth, ALL ministries, really) rarely take time to articulate what they want to see happen in their realm of ministry. Instead, the ministries of the church have adopted the marks of success by numbers, as if we were a part of the business world.

But, I can contend that there are better ways to gauge the effectiveness of our ministries.

Specifically speaking about youth ministry:

If Jesus was a youth pastor in today’s church, He would probably be fired because He spent three years discipling twelve people, one of which fell away from the faith. Based on our numerical standards of ministry success, Jesus’ ministry was a complete failure.

He had many opportunities to minister to the crowds, and yet He walked away (Matthew 14:22,23) (John 6:14,15) to spend time with the twelve.

He was healing people from their sicknesses and performing miracles (Matthew 14:13-21) (Mark 5:2-41) and could’ve spoken (outwardly) of the countless numbers of people He revived, but Jesus’ focus was on the twelve.

Jesus was truly the talk of the town…..but He wanted no recognition. He knew that the twelve (really, the eleven) would one day be the foundation of a force that swept the world. That is exactly what happened in Acts 2—the power of the Holy Spirit worked inside of them and allowed them to spread the Gospel to the entire known world.

In Jesus’ ministry, the focus was clearly not on numbers but on true discipleship and commitment to the mission.

For Jesus, discipleship was learning from the Master and longing to seek His will. How different would student ministry be if we defined success based on discipleship and mission rather than numbers? Do we still believe that a few students empowered by the Holy Spirit can change their friends, campuses, communities, and churches? The message and mission have not changed. Maybe we, as a church “culture” have….

****on a side note: over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about this, so I asked a few of my friends what they thought….Their responses are in the next post!! Stay tuned….

Buffaloes vs. Leopards–a tough night!

Last night was a “ROUGH NIGHT” for the Buffs. We lost a district game, 31-0, against La Grange. 😦 Super sad, frustrating night…..

But, I’ll back up a little bit first….

On Thursday nights, when GMS plays at home, we sit up in the pressbox with our friend, Mike, while he “calls” for the 7th/8th grade teams….Paul helps him “spot” (do you like all the technical words I’m using, as if I really know what they mean)….

So, here are a couple of pictures from GMS games…

GMS cheerleaders-they do really good “stunts”!

Paul using his binoculars to help Mike “spot”

Funny, though, I didn’t get any pictures of the game!!

So….Friday night, before the game, we went to the “Black History Clu*b” pre-game dinner.

Paul and me

Then we went to the game….it was a COLD night…..probalby in the 40’s. Now granted we lived in Illinois for 3 years and we are used to the cold, but I didn’t have any gloves, a hat, or a scarf….so I was a little “chilly.”

 

warming up with some hot chocolate

After the very “tough loss” (31-0) we had 5th Quarter at the 1st Ass*embly of God church. It was a very “low attended” 5th Quarter….it was super cold and we just lost, pretty bad….but we had fun, nonetheless!

Kyle, my favorite 9th grader

trying to make the “tallest” structure out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows!

the winning structure

Hattie, me, and Victoria

We had a good night, despite the loss. But, Buffs, get ready for next week!! 🙂

 

What is Worship?

What is Worship?

According to Webster, worship is: (Noun) a reverence offered to a divine being or supernatural power; (Verb) an act of expressing such reverence; (Noun) extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem

So, according to Webster (who is my best friend when looking up definitions because really, 90% of the time we think we know the true definition of a word, and yet, when we look it up, we are wrong), worship is both a NOUN and a VERB. It is a reverence or respect AND it’s an action of expressing reverence…..

Reverence. An act of deep respect (tinged with awe)…..

If you are in awe of something, you are enamored; it is a deep respect or admiration of something….almost a “healthy” fear of it.

When speaking of worship as a noun, I love the word extravagant. It’s not just respect. It’s extravagant….

  • exceeding the limits of reason….
  • lacking moderation and restraint
  • extremely elaborate…..

So, as surprising as it is to some people, worship is NOT defined as:

  • A dedicated hour on Sunday mornings (as in I am “going to” worship, as if it is a place)
  • A particular type of music (that music is classified as “praise and worship” music)
  • A certain amount of songs led by a music minister that we, as church members, just listen to (the 7/11 songs, as my mom calls them)
  • Something you pick up and drop off at church each week (as if the bulletin, hymnal, song book, or Bible you hold has some certain power to make you “worship”)

First, look at worship as a verb. An act of expressing reverence. To me worship is more than just a verb. It is a lifestyle…..

Is it just dedicated to a church service, something you put on and take off, as if it were a pair of pants or a dress, only to be worn at certain times of the week?

NO.

Your whole LIFE should be about worship.

  • It’s not about the songs.
  • It’s not about the sermon.
  • It’s not about the words.
  • It’s not about the minister.
  • It’s not about you.

It’s about Him.

It’s about your relationship with your Maker.

The very One who made you.

Who created you.

Who predestined you to be you.

Because of all He has done for you, doesn’t He deserve you….and only you. True worship is a humble act that causes us to forget about ourselves and focus on God.

If you are like me, you learned very little, growing up, about what it meant for people to worship the God. We didn’t call it worship. We just called it church. We learned about music, we learned about hymns, we learned about music theory, and even learned to play a few instruments, but…I never learned how to worship (who knows…all along, maybe I was worshipping, I just didn’t know it because nobody took the time to tell me).

So, can worship be taught? Is it a skill to be taught: like riding a bike or baking a cake?

Fortunately, in our changing times, all over the United States (and even the world) many seminaries (and even colleges) are now teaching worship (the act of worship, as in a church service) and how to prepare your congregation for worship, but for most of us, it (the very idea of worship as a whole) is something that has to be learned over time (through lifestyle changes, choices we make, habits we break, and decisions we cultivate on this so called road of life).

Second, look at worship as an action. A result or a response to the very nature of our relationship with Jesus.

Once we figure out worship, in and of itself, is a lifestyle, not just an hour on Sunday mornings, we can begin to look at that hour that we do worship—the act of responding to Him through song and the typical Sunday morning message—(as a corporate body) and look at how worship (as a church service) is defined and how we respond to it.

Worship as a corporate body should not be ignored. This form of worship is commended and commanded in the Scriptures. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).

The Psalmist also celebrates the privilege of participating in corporate worship: “Praise the LORD.I will extol the LORD with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. (Ps. 111:1)

Clearly God wants His people to gather as congregations, expressing that they are the body of Christ as they worship Him with one another.

But, as a corporate body of worshippers, you have to ask the question, why do we do the things we do?

  • If you’re of the Christian Church, why do you take communion every Sunday?
    If you’re of the Methodist denomination, why do you say the Lord’s Prayer and sing the Doxology every Sunday?
  • If you’re Baptist, why do you sing ALL the verses of Just As I Am, as the invitation, waiting for the Spirit to lead that one person down the aisle (I’m feeling it….I know there’s still one person in this room that is being pulled on by the Holy Spirit—I feel it!)!! Just keepin’ it real, people….

There’s an old story that goes like this.

A wife is cooking a roast. She cuts the end off of the roast, puts it on a pan and then in the oven. The husband asks her “Why did you cut the end off?” she replies “Because my mom always did.” The next day the wife talks to mom and asks “Why did you cut the end off of the roast before putting it in the oven?”. Mom replies “Because my mom always did.” So the both of them went to Grandma and asked the same question. “Grandma, why do you cut the end of the roast off before cooking it?” Grandma replies “So it would fit in to the pan!”

So many times we do things without knowing why but we do it. (Because we have always done it that way and no one has ever taken the time to find out why themselves. We just go through life doing things that we have no idea why we do what we do).

I see the church is the same way. Many have been raised in good Biblical teaching churches, never missing a Sunday, always striving to live a good Christian life. But sadly many are clueless of some fundamental issues. We go about our business within the church, never asking or really seeking the reasons why we do the things we do. We simply accept certain things because that’s just how things are and we really don’t need to know exactly why. Things have just always been that way and we’re content and comfortable.

This is ignorant and I do not believe ignorance is bliss. God desires each of us to follow Him not blindly but boldly and intelligently.

So, why do we worship the way we do? What’s the motivation behind the songs, either hymns or the more contemporary songs that we sing?

Of all the battles in the worship wars, the battle over music probably has been the most evident and the most emotional. Changes in the style of music have divided, frustrated, and even angered church members. Should we sing old hymns or praise choruses? Should the music be classical, traditional, or more contemporary? Should we use organs and pianos, or guitars and drums?

A change in music — whether to something older or newer — is difficult because most worshipers are not musicians and simply like what is familiar to them. Most people are not motivated by theory or even sound, but by how the music makes them feel. Music, for most people, powerfully engages us and helps us express our emotions, so it’s not surprising that people act a certain way or REact a certain way when certain music is played.

But, just because music makes you feel good, doesn’t mean it’s all good. Just because you have a certain response when you worship (through music) doesn’t make it right or pleasing to God.

We must stand back from our own experiences and preferences and ask again, “What pleases God?” We should recognize that not all music and praise pleases Him. Think of the worship and praise that Israel offered to God in the wilderness at Mount Sinai. They made a golden calf, called it the Lord, and danced around it (Exod. 32:4-6). Such praise was an insult to God and evoked His wrath!

The words we take upon our lips to sing to God must be true and pleasing to Him.

“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matt. 15:8). True worship occurs when we worship with the heart.

What is the single most important ingredient needed to experience great worship?

  • Some people say it’s the music.
  • Some say it’s the voices leading you in worship.

What is it that makes for an AWEsome worship experience?

Some worship leaders will tell you that music (as an art form) is actually SECONDARY in worship. “It’s not the art, but the heart”. How true this is. Some churches are famous for trying to be so creative during their worship service (trying to impress man), that they are forgetting about God. Since true worship is about God and not about us, what is it that He desires?

Does He desire a song and dance?

He does desire our best, but what is it that He wants more than anything?

I believe it’s our hearts, our love, our commitment, and our faithfulness to Him. I don’t believe that God is impressed with our big programs that we put together for our people.

I believe that He is moved by one of His children coming before Him with a broken heart as He pours out his heart in thankfulness for what God has done in his life.

I believe God is moved when one of His children sings at the top of his lungs in praise to the only God who is worthy of praise. God is moved by our praise and worship and not by our fancy programs to impress man.

So, that being said, how should we worship (as an act of showing reverence to the One we love and adore, and are in AWE of)…..

It’s a question of frustration for worship leaders all around, as well as pastors and congregation members.

Why do some people jump up and down in worship and some won’t even open their mouths to sing?

What is the problem?

These are supposed to be people who love the Lord. They are supposed to be Christians, right?

 Who really knows why people act the way they do? The same person who won’t move a muscle in church will jump up and down at their favorite sports events cheering on their teams, or kids, with all the emotion of a cheerleader.

How are we supposed to get excited about the Lord?

About a month ago, at our Youth Retreat, Paul shared this passage of Scripture with us that I LOVE:

2 Samuel 6:14-22

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and the blowing of rams’ horns. But as the Ark of the Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him….When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”  David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes….”

David danced in the buff (in ALL his glory) before the Lord.

What did God say about David?

  • Did He say He was embarrassed?
  • Did He tell Him to “pipe down” and be quiet?

NO!

The Lord, Himself, said, “He is a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22) To have the Lord say that of me would be the greatest joy of my life.

I must admit I do not dance before the Lord on a regular basis. It is my desire to give it all to Him, but I have some of the same problems that people in our churches do………embarrassment. What will people think of me? Inhibitions…..(the blocking or holding back of one psychological process by another, which means you are allowing someone to take hold of your own worship experience, controlling what you do, because you are embarrassed)

We, as humans, are so worried about what the person next to us is thinking that we fail to worry about what God thinks.

 After all, He is the one we are worshiping. Right?

What about the Michals (See 2 Samuel 6:14-22) of the world? We are concerned about what they say about us.

How I wish that everyone would let go and worship the Lord the way they really wanted to (myself included). We need to worship the Lord as if we are the only ones there, without caring what other people think. We should be more concerned about our giving, not our constraining.

That’s what worship is…..it’s giving. It’s not about us, or what we receive, but about what God receives.

When you worship what does He receive from you?

However, we must remember….we are all created different and equipped differently to serve, so are we created different in our worship expression as well. Some clap, others sing, some raise their hands, and others just sit quietly, with their arms folded across their chests (assuming the “I’m not going to and you can’t make me” stance)…..Our uniqueness when blended together is wonderful in worship. We come before Him in ways that please Him and yet we may do it differently.

But…..when certain people, despite their posture, fail to participate in worship (as in the act of responding through song), I believe it’s because of two things.

1.)    They don’t know what to do because they have very little understanding on this thing called worship.

2.)    Their hearts are not ready, or prepared, to experience worship

I believe that both of these obstacles need attention. Worship (as a corporate act of responding through son) can be modeled. As it is modeled, and explained along the way, those who want to learn will grow. If we will encourage them to express their worship on a daily basis (on their own), then their corporate experience will be that much more. As mentioned above, focusing on the heart (and not on the art) takes practice and constant awareness of our body language, our posture, our focus, and how we spend our time, but hopefully, it will come.

May our worship become what it should be and not what we have made it.

“I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the things I’ve made it
When it’s all about you
It’s all about you, Jesus”

(Heart of Worship chorus)

Let us move away from wowing our people and help them to learn to wow the Lord with their hearts in worship, and we will see an explosion in worship with God’s hand moving like never before. Press on towards the mark that He has called you complete for His Glory!

Directions, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and Submission

Over the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about what it means to simply follow directions and respect the authority of those over you. Rules and guidelines are put in place for a reason–most of the time they are to help you, not harm you. They are to allow you to have the most “fun” without the threat of injury. The adults who placed the guidelines there, usually have a pretty good reason why they did/said what they did/said. It usually makes sense, if you’re just mature enough and patient enough to listen. But, if you’re not, then be prepared for the consequences.

To follow directions:

Direction means: “An instruction or series of instructions for doing or finding something”

As I said, obviously the people “in charge” usually give you instructions and directions because the process of doing something or completing a task has already been planned out and they want to help you, in a positive way, get to the end result.

This is especially frustrating when dealing with adults. Just because you are an adult does not give you permission to do your own thing or to instruct people to not follow the directions (especially when they are in direct conflict to what is being asked)…..
You really are doing your child a disservice when you allow them to dictate (to you) what they want to do. They are 11 years old–they should not get to choose, especially when there’s really only one option for them in the first place.

Respect:

(I’ll give a little shout-out to Aretha Fra*nklin right now….)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Take care, TCB

(You’re welcome)!

Anyway, respect for authority comes through the realization that leaders/teachers/pastors/ministers/adults are there to help you, NOT control you. And, as parents, it is important to re-enforce that to your children. If you act as if you can “make your own rules” and not follow instructions, then your children will learn the same habit. As a child, they need to know (especially when they might not always appreciate or agree with decisions made by those in authority) that rules/regulations/guidelines are put into place for a reason (and no, leaders/teachers/pastors/ministers/adults are not “out to get you”).

Now I am not advocating blind obedience to those in authority either, as I believe that those who have the rule over us must be held accountable for their actions also, and it is just as important that your children realize that with authority comes responsibility.

Being “in charge” of something does not give you the right to rule over or “control” another–it’s simply a place of leadership where decisions can be made, preferably while consulting with someone else in authority.

God has given each of us a gift. We are not all blessed with the same gifts. He has great variety and has blessed each of us equally….we should use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10-11

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”

 We serve because God has instructed us to do so. We serve out of love. Not out of obligation. We serve expecting nothing in return. We serve (and submit) because God has instructed us to do so. We submit out of love. Not out of punishment. We love because God has instructed us to. And with service, submission, and love comes great responsibility–as the server and the serve-e. As the submitter, and the submissive. And, as the lover and the love-e…..

I Need A Vacation…..

Goodness, gracious!! What a week?!! It was crazy, busy…..I’m ready to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N…..

If you didn’t read about what happened earlier in the week, you can read here.

So…..after the car accident we had to start “new to us” car shopping. (Not exactly what we had planned for this past week)…..

The accident happened on Monday. On Tuesday we went and picked up a rental car in Bastrop. (We found out later that, by Texas law, our rental car is only covered for 2 days. If we had known that before we went to pick it up, we might not have gotten it…but we did. And we kept it until Friday. (Long story)….

On Wednesday I subbed all day at the Middle School–I was the “talk” of most of the classes because I was in a wreck and all the kids wanted to hear about it! On Wednesday night we went to church and helped pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child–it was SO MUCH FUN! I loved it….Here are some pictures from that night.

Ms. Beth explaining to the kids what the boxes were for….

Sierra praying for the children that will receive the boxes

Adara and Melissa

Hanna packing a box

Abraham and Cody packing boxes

Paul packing a box

Audrey and Aislyn

Jack and Willie

On Thursday Paul worked (had somewhat of a normal morning). I had lunch with a friend and then headed to the Middle School Pep Rally. Thursday night we went to 3 football games: 7th grade B, 7th grade A, and 8th grade. For the middle school games we sit up in the press box with our friend, Mike, who calls the games….Paul helps him figure out who did what play and who has what number!

Friday Paul and his dad went to test drive a car in Austin.

2009 Kia Borrego

I subbed all day at the Middle School. After coming home to change clothes real quick, I went back to the school and watched 2 games of volleyball. Friday night, of course, was Friday Night Football!

After the football game FBC hosted another 5th quarter. My camera was really messed up on Friday night, so I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures. But, here are some that I did get.

Ryan (from Martin Luther) and Paul

Sharon helping with the food

some H.S. girls at 5th Quarter

some of the other girls at 5th quarter

Jordan playing ping-pong

After getting home at 12:45AM on Friday, I turned around and got up at 7:00AM to go work at Food Pantry. I left Food Pantry early (at 8:45AM) to go to our Operation Clean-Up: The Playground morning at church. We ended up having about 9 people there, which was nice…..(we really had no idea how many to expect)!

Gina

Terry

Kelly

Walker

Melissa and me

Shyann and Amy

Paul

 

Then, after getting home after 9:00PM on Saturday, we got up at 7AM because Paul was preaching on Sunday!!

He did a fabulous job!! Be a proclaimer, not a complainer! Psalm 145:4-7

(On a side note, we have Children’s Bags at church now. The “big hit” in the bags now is Pipe Cleaners–the kids LOVE THEM!! 🙂

Zarai with pipe cleaner glasses!! 🙂

So, now, it’s Monday. We got up at 6:00AM this morning….Paul dropped me off in Waco at 8:30 and he is now in Dallas at a youth minister’s conference.

I am certainly hoping that when Thursday rolls around, it will begin to quiet down!! I have had enough excitement and enough busy-ness to last for quite a while!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not My Yob…..

Awhile back, for some reason, (I think back when we lived in Illinois), when we didn’t want to do something we would throw our hands up in the air and say, “It’s Not My Yob (imagine like an “Indian type” accent, when you hear the last word….YOB!) Really, we were saying “It’s Not My Job!”–and, of course, we were just joking!!

Embracing the attitude of “It’s Not My Job” is devastating to the work place (and to a marriage, too, no doubt) because it is not the attitude of a team player or one who is even willing to become a team player.

But, let me tell you where it is even MORE prevalent and even MORE frustrating…the church.

Seeing someone choose (and even approve of) that attitude at church is so disheartening. I just can’t help but be sad for those who miss out on SO MUCH MINISTRY because they choose the attitude of “It’s Not My Job.”

(Geez-Louise….I could go on and on…..)

Let me jump on my soapbox for a minute….

This is NOT the mindset of a team player.

This is NOT the mindset of someone who wants to minister with (and to) others.

To me, this is someone who is simply checking the box—

  • I come to church on Sunday mornings. Check. (OK, three out of four Sundays, but I’m there, right?).
  • I smile at people during the fellowship time. Check. (I don’t leave “my pew” but I will shake your hand if you come see me–but I’m not getting up).
  • I nod my head and say Amen at the end of the prayer. Check. (Even though I really don’t like what the preacher said, I’ll nod my head–and roll my eyes).
  • I came to Sunday School. Check. (Wait….you want me to come to church, TOO? No thanks).
  • I give a tithe. Check. (But only if I’m in agreement with everything the church is doing. If not, I will withhold my tithe).
  • I fold my check in half (as to not show how much I give) but I put it in the offering plate (for all the world to see). Check.

These are the people who have the “It’s Not My Job” attitude.

  • We’re not having Wednesday night prayer meeting. Then, I’m NOT going. (I understand we are still doing something….it’s just not what we always do).
  • You want me to come to church on another day besides Wednesday and Sunday? NO thank you.
  • We have to do what with those kids? I’m NOT helping with that. I don’t have kids; why should I help?
  • The youth are going to be doing contemporary songs during church? I’m just going to sit here with my arms crossed. (Believe, me, the youth NOTICE).
  • They’re showing a video about marriage at the end of the service. I’m leaving early. (That’s not for me. I’ve been married 50 years).
  • The women want me to be on the decorating committee. Nope. I don’t do fake flowers. Besides, that’s for the older generation.
  • The men want me to come help with a workday. Nope. Gotta play golf.

The list could go ON AND ON…..

They do the bare minimum to get their name mentioned but are unwilling to stretch beyond their tiny little bubble.

Okay, perhaps I’m oversimplifying things. But that’s how it looks to me sometimes.

Here’s the truth:

  • We are created for community. We were not created to be alone. Genesis 2:18
  • We are created to be together. We were created to be a family because two are better than one. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
  • We are created to encourage one another. We are all gifted in certain areas and can certainly strengthen one another through help and inspiration. Hebrews 10:24-25
  • We are instructed by the Lord himself to treat one another with love and respect. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15/Luke 6:31
  • We are all blessed with different gifts. We are called to use them to work together to further the Kingdom. 1 Corinthians 12: 15-31

But, how sad it is when a missed opportunity takes place because someone claims “it’s not my job.”

I think in the workplace that habit is referring to the overall mindset of people who unreasonably resist taking on additional work, even though it is needed to further the success of the company. But, in the church I think that habit is just selfish. (Sorry if you are shocked by that statement, but I’m not sorry I said it)…..

So, what do you do? How do you faithfully follow what the Lord has commanded? But, more importantly, how do you help people understand what it means to minister, even if they think “it’s not my job?”

Pitch in and help others out when you can.

If you have the time and capability to do JUST A LITTLE BIT, do it. You have no idea how much your time, even just a little bit, makes a HUGE difference in the lives of the people at your church and in the overall ministry of the church.

Set limits for the right reasons.

It’s perfectly okay to say “no” at church. However, there are good reasons (I really am involved in a lot of ministries right now or I’d love to help, but my area of focus right now is ______.) and there are bad ones (It’s not my job). Please, please, make sure you’re setting limits for yourself for a valid purpose, not just because it’s inconvenient for you or it’s not what we’ve ALWAYS done.

Be willing to accept change.

I understand, back in the 1940’s, the church did not do ministry exactly like this. But, you know what? It’s 2012. Times have changed. People have changed. Ministry has changed. Please be willing to change and adapt with it (or at least support the ministry that is happening in your church right now–it is effective, even if you don’t understand it).

When setting limits, be helpful.

“It’s not my job” is probably the most unhelpful (and rudest thing) you can say when being approached with an idea or a suggestion about a ministry in the church. And sometimes, even worse, is not saying anything. Being apathetic or simply disregarding the aforementioned ministry is so disrespectful. It’s like when a little kid throws a tantrum and says, “I know, but you can’t make me!” It doesn’t do anyone any good. If you have to say no, show a sincere desire to really help find someone else who can fill that need; don’t just make up an excuse (that is not even a valid one 90% of the time). And trust me, I have a sixth sense. I known when you are lying to me. I know when you are just trying to make up a lie to cover for the fact that you are just not interested in expanding your ministry beyond what you are comfortable doing.

Make it your job.

If you find that a ministry team or a certain individual keeps asking you over and over to be involved, take it to heart. Maybe it should be your ministry. Maybe the Lord is trying to stretch you. To get you out of your little bubble. Embrace it. Let it shape you into someone new. Someone different. No matter your age, the Lord can always use you.

I absolutely love the idea of multi-generational ministry. Do you understand what I’m saying? Mult-generational…..working together….for one common goal. A goal to further God’s Kingdom.

  • A 6 year old working alongside a 60 year old, packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
  • A 12 year old working alongside a 72 year old, bagging candy for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
  • A 4 year old singing alongside a 40 year old, praising Jesus through song.
  • A 34 year old reading alongside a 54 year old, studying God’s Word.
  • A 5 year old walking alongside a 15 year old, picking up supplies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

And, it’s not just about what happened at church tonight (I’m sorry if you missed it), but I’m talking about living life together.

Supporting the children’s ministry through prayer, tithing, teaching, and substituting.

Supporting the youth ministry through prayers, tithing, cooking, and loving.

Supporting the young adults through prayers, tithing, supporting, involvement.

Supporting the older generation through prayers, tithing, visitation, cooking, and loving.

We all are ONE FAMILY. In the church we are not divided by generation. We should not be divided by anything, in fact. We should ALL strive to further God’s Kingdom through support, love, encouragement, prayer, and involvement.

Step out and get involved. Be uncomfortable. And, instead, say “It’s My Yob! I’ll be there!”