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For the past two years, I’ve been doing my best to lead our Kids’ Ministry staff team. The team consists of 8 paid staff who are all very gifted leaders. Each of them has their own way of communicating, their own set of needs from me, but one common passion to reach kids with the Gospel.

I cannot even express how humbling this experience has been. In the mixture of wins and fails, I’ve learned a few things that I think are critical to leading any team. Here are my 4 essentials for leading a team:

Take Suggestions & Make Decisions

I’ve learned that leading a team requires me to be a good listener. My natural inclination is to make decisions and move forward. While this is necessary at times, I’ve come to realize that a better way is to listen to others’ input and reach a collaborative decision. Even if we need to make a hard decision, this gives me the opportunity to communicate the how and why behind decision so that everyone can feel confident in the decision. When the decision is made and it’s time to move forward, I feel more energy and excitement because we are all moving together.

Look for Ways to Add Value to Each Team Member

I remember hearing John Maxwell speak on this point about 12 years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. He says that leading people is really an opportunity to add value to their life. It could be  picking up coffee for the team in the morning, a note of thanks, public praise, or meeting one on one to hear how they’re doing. If I want the team to be growing, then I have to be faithful to water it.

Make Room for Growth, Change, and Failure

I can’t stand to be micromanaged, and I suspect that my team feels the same way. I am not always the best at delegating authority, but I do know that the team needs the freedom to grow in their leadership, question how we could change to do things better, and take risks that might result in failure.

Be a Servant to Your Team

We’ve probably all suffered the effects of a leader who has taken advantage of their position. I know I’ve been guilty of it. But I want to be the leader that doesn’t ask anything of my team that I haven’t already done or am not willing to do myself. I want to use my position to serve them.

I’m learning that I can’t always be in the trenches with my team because I need to be leading in the ways that only I can lead. But I know the power of serving alongside them when I can. Those times help me to see what they do and how valuable it is to our team. When I have to lead from the front, I hope they trust that I care about them and their role on our team.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned these essentials more through my failures than successes. I’m still learning. I hope to continue learning and practicing these essentials for leading a team.

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Every human is created to worship something. God designed that something to be Him, but, as Romans 1:25 says, we tend to focus on the created things rather than the Creator. This can be especially true with children.

So when we dreamed of where to begin with the FellowshipKids app, it only seemed right to help kids see God’s power. Paul Tripp says, “Only when awe of God progressively replaces awe of self will we joyfully, willingly, and consistently live as God designed us to live.” We want kids to develop an awe of God that radically transforms their every thought, word, and action.

Here are a few ways you, as a parent, can help your child develop an awe of God:

Point to the Powerful Works of God in Creation

God has filled the whole Earth with His glory, which means every where we look is a reminder of His power. When you see a beautiful sunset, a powerful thunderstorm, or a fresh snowfall, make every effort to point to the Creator behind the creation! Take a moment to say, “Wow! Isn’t God amazing? Just look at what He made to remind us of His power.”

Verbally Thank God for His Power at Work in Your Life

God’s glory and power is on display through creation, but sometimes His power comes in less visible ways. My wife was driving with our 2 daughters in the car when she realized that the gas gauge had slipped way past empty. In a moment of panic, she started looking for a gas station and told the girls just to pray! When they coasted into the gas station for a fill-up, the girls celebrated that God had answered their prayer. Whether it’s big or small, take time to talk with your kids about the way God answers prayers and works in your life.

Let Yourself Be Overwhelmed by the Power of God.  

Many children will learn to value the things their parents value. Concentrate on setting an example by living in awe of God. Find wonder in His grace that saves and sustains you. Find peace in His power that protects and guides you. Find joy in the relationship that He has chosen to have with you. And let your children see you be overwhelmed by an awe of God.

This article was originally posted in the Parent Talk section of the FellowshipKids app. To download the app, click here.

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There is one thing that every ministry has in common—volunteers. And most of us share the struggle to find more!

Our children’s ministry team has been recruiting year round and really ramped it up between May and August. We personally invited, had multiple church-wide campaigns, and shared a vision for why current volunteers should re-up in the ministry. God has really blessed us by sending 491 people to volunteer on our team! Even as I type that sentence, I’m overwhelmed by what God has done.

So, why do I feel worried, frustrated, and defeated by the handful of volunteers I still need?

Do you ever feel that way? Do you find yourself focusing on the need, the problem, or the failure? It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting those things keep our attention and steal our joy.

I was wrestling with this when God taught me a lesson through Gideon. As I tucked my daughter in bed and opened our devotional book to the day’s devotion (story of Gideon), what God was doing for the Israelites hit me like a ton of bricks.

Judges 7 tells us that as Gideon went up against the Midianites, he went with 32,000 soldiers. Who knows if that was enough, but it surely gave the Israelites a fighting chance.

But then God told Gideon to shrink the army.

God knew that a victory would lead people to boast in their own ability and their own strength. So Gideon shrunk the army. First from 32,000 to 10,000, and then the army went down to just 300 men. Gideon went up against the Midianites with less than 1% of his army! God decreased the size of the Israelite army so that He could increase their dependence on Him. God wanted them to see God’s power and boast in Him alone.

As I thought about what God did, I realized that I was looking at volunteers the wrong way. Could it be that God was decreasing our “army” so that He could increase our dependence on Him?

I quickly wrote down this prayer and I’ve been praying it since:

Lord, increase my dependence on you. Make Your strength visible through my weakness. Help me to boast in nothing but You and what You have done.

If you have a volunteer need or some other daunting task ahead of you, are you delighting in it? I know that sounds like the craziest question ever, but listen to the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it [thorn in the flesh] away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In the end, God provided the victory for Gideon and the Israelites in such a way that only He could do. I’m not sure how or even if God is going to provide volunteers for our ministry, but I will continue to pray this prayer and know that He is in control.

Lord, increase my dependence on you. Make Your strength visible through my weakness. Help me to boast in nothing but You and what You have done.

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I’m in a season with very little margin. My calendar is overloaded with important things to do, and each day seems to add to the pile. I literally wrote this post while jogging on the treadmill because there’s just no other time! In this season, I find myself asking God to help me manage and help me see changes that can make me more effective for His Kingdom. Here are a few things I’m learning to do when life gets too busy:

1. Make a strategic list

I have a To-Do list have all the things that need to get done. That list is always growing. But recently, I’ve started to make strategic lists. I got some great ideas from Kenny Conley and how his team is using an idea from Bill Hybels. My strategic list contains the 3-4 things that I’m going to focus on for the next three months. I still have small tasks that need to get done, but the focus of my time and energy is just 3-4 initiatives. So far, this strategic list has helped keep my work very intentional and focused. I may be “doing less” but I’m accomplishing more.

2. Make time for time off

Once I start something, I will not walk away until it’s finished. This is the sickness that makes me stay up till 1:30 am to install a couple of under-the-counter lights. It’s also the sickness that tells me I don’t have time for time off.

In the middle of the busyness when I’m tempted to just keep plugging away until burn out, I have to intentionally schedule minutes, hours, days, even weeks to break from the work. Whether it’s a five-minute walk or a week at the beach (Hallelujah, that’s next week!), time off is necessary. It’s hard to step away from unfinished business, but I’ve realized that I’m much more effective when I return from a time off.

3. Ask for help

I don’t like to ask for help. It’s a pride thing–which is a sin thing. I like to do things my way on my timing, and I hate feeling like I’m putting someone else out by needing their help. But in the middle of this busy season, I’ve learned to ask for help.

I’ve learned that holding “To-Dos” tightly—especially in ministry—is robbing someone else from the opportunity to serve God. He may have gifted them for a task or His Spirit prompted them to act, so who am I to selfishly hold onto it. Asking for help gets others involved, and it helps me remember to focus on people not just tasks.

4. Pray More

It’s funny that I began the year asking God to build the discipline of prayer in my life, and of course He’s doing it in a way I didn’t expect. Instead of a relaxing study on prayer, I feel as though God—in His sovereignty everything—has put me in a position where I’m much more aware of my need for Him.

There are times when I look at the to-dos and I am paralyzed with worry and fear. But those moments are teaching me the power and the peace that comes from prayer. The busyness of this season is teaching me that I don’t need more time, I need more Jesus. I don’t have to stress about the things I can’t accomplish because I am able to rest in what He has already accomplished.

It’s amazing how a strategy and the right perspective can change the feelings about being busy. When I’m able to remember these lessons, I feel much more focused and energized to do what needs to be done.

I’m thankful for the lessons that God is teaching me in this busy season, and even more thankful that my relationship with Him is based on the finished work of Jesus and not my unfinished to-do list!