Friday, September 21, 2007

Stay on Target

Every summer my family took a 16-hour car ride to California to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The best part of the vacation was staying at my grandparents’ farm. The house was full of memories—sights, smells, textures and experiences. Mornings on the farm began with breakfast on the patio, followed by some target practice with the bb gun. My brothers and I would take turns shooting pop cans off a stump at the far end of my grandparents’ yard. Because the cans were so small, and my marksmanship needed fine-tuning, I employed the use of lawn chairs for better aim. With the chair facing me, I’d rest the barrel of the gun on top of the chair back. Then, with one eye squinted, I’d watch carefully until the aiming bead at the end of the barrel lined up with the can. A gentle pull on the trigger and—“twink,” I’d made contact. Or, “thunk,” I’d missed and hit the stump instead. The best was when the can went flying, signaling perfect aim.
In Children’s Ministries we’re also aiming at a ministry target—the target of equipping children and families to become complete in Christ and love Him for a lifetime. So we integrate bb gun wisdom in hitting the target. We use tools to help us send the can flying. Just as I needed a lawn chair to help steady my hand, we have four key values to guide each ministry decision—teaching the Bible creatively in a child targeted manner, building relationships, providing family resource tools, and safety. In in the end, the bead that we line the target with is the children.
Staying on target in ministry is essential. Because we want each shot to be dead on, we carefully reevaluate, looking for effectiveness. From our current way of doing Sunday mornings to communication with parents to extra events, we analyze what is the best use of the time, energy and resources God has given us. How can we be better stewards? A year ago we began looking at Fall Fun Fest. While it was fun and exciting and loaded with candy, we asked if it lined up with our ministry target? We found that we were actually hitting the stump instead of the target in view of our values.
This year, we will not be having Fall Fun Fest. Instead, we are excitedly planning a fun, high energy Family Experience where parents and kids can learn and worship together. Family Experience (FX) happens 6 times a year and each one focuses on a different key concept or virtue. The October FX will be looking at Outreach, specifically to your neighborhood. FX is a lot of fun and we hope you’ll join us. While it’s geared toward elementary aged kids and their parents, it is entertaining enough for a preschool aged child to have fun, deep enough for a middle school student to enjoy and relaxed so you don’t have to worry if your baby cries.
We’re working hard to keep our ministry on target. Just the phrase “stay on target” reminds me of a scene from Star Wars where the pilots are aiming for the Death Star, and one of the them keeps reminding in his monotone voice, “Stay on target, stay on target.” Without great focus, we’re going to miss our target.

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