Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The 4th & 5th Grade Experiment

We're working on developing a new ministry for our fourth and fifth graders. If you'd like to follow our process of creating a new program, curriculum, etc, check out our new blog here!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I Support My Leaders

Our church staff has gone through some changes over the past 6 months. While I know many churches are used to seeing leaders come and go, ours saw little change for quite a while. The latest "goodbye" was particularly painful for me as my husband had really connected with this pastor. After an emotional evening on Tuesday, I went into a staff get away/work day/vision casting/whatever else we may call it wondering how I would feel about the general direction of our church. What I saw from my Executive Pastor and Senior Pastor was honesty, genuine desire to hear from the staff, and an urgent hope to see our church to move forward. The more we discussed, critiqued, and brainstormed as a ministry staff, the more I respected those who lead us. When I returned home that evening, I was pleased to tell my husband, "I support Scott and Ken."
I think it's very important in ministry to remember why we support those who lead us. It seems like the times that I go through heart-wrenching questioning and seeking I find the most affirmation in where God has me. It is in the times of defending my church and its leaders that I am most passionately secure in my position. And it is often because of these times of affirmation and passion that I am able serve the Lord better.
In his book, "Lead the Way God Made You," Larry Shallenberger said that if your vision for Children's Ministry does not fall in line with that of your church, you need to evaluate whether your vision can change, or you need to change which church you serve in. I whole-heartedly agree. Our Executive Pastor's wife once said that the Senior Pastor is the caster of the vision for the church, and it's the duty of her husband to be the carrier and keeper of that vision. I'll take that point a step further by saying it's also the duty of ministry leaders in the church to carry and keep the vision.
And after questioning, pondering, evaluating and praying, I am happy and honored to carry and keep the vision of my pastor. I support my leaders.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Last night I was cutting the hair of my friend Robyn's 4-year-old daughter. "Miss Jill, do you have children?" Leeann asked.

"No, I don't. And probably not for a few more years," was my response.

"But if you just pray to God, like Sarah and Hannah did, God will give you a baby."

I love the innocent thoughts of a child! I love Leeann's reminder of these women who sought God and were blessed with sons. Each weekend I see mother after mother who are raising children (some sought and prayed for, others a surprise that brought on prayer) and doing everything they can to bring their children up to be godly men and women. I so admire what these mothers do. So in honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to give a little shout-out to some moms in our church.

Molly Nemecek and her husband Jeff are raising three boys. That in itself deserves a round of applause! This week it was precious to watch the boys in their matching blue-camo fleece jackets. While I'm know there are times when Molly is exhausted by the energy, challenges, and tears of three boys under the age of 4, she still has a beautiful joy in loving her boys, and seeks with all her heart to see them become strong men who can be leaders in their families and the world.

Heidi Jensen blesses me each week with sweet encouragement. All the while, she and her husband have raised one of the fifth grade boys that I will HUGELY miss when he moves on to middle school. She has raised Halden to be respectful, polite, and a genuine servant. I don't blame Heidi at all for the tears that spring when she talks about her son growing up.

Erin Chung has brought her children to church on an average of 3.5 times a month! She has her three (6th grade, kindergarten, and 3-years-old) put together and in the building on time on a regular basis. Her kids are eager to enter their classes and excited to learn. It is a blessing to see the way she and her husband lead their family.

Wendy Rogers brings her boys faithfully as well. Her preschool and elementary aged sons have a joy and enthusiasm as they walk through the doors of their classes--completed take-home sheets in hand and memory verses ready to be recited. Once getting her kids in place, she greets and checks in the rest of our first-service elementary boys and girls.

These women are just a few of the many, many women I am honored and privileged to serve. I am thankful for them and hope that when I am blessed with my own children, I can be the kind of mom these women are--honest mothers who have their own struggles, but are blessing God in the way they parent their children.

Sony Style USA