I Love My Church

March 5, 2013 — 6 Comments

sph-missionsThings have been extremely busy lately, but exciting. I’m so thankful for the way God is working on me and working around me. I’m getting to see so many cool things.

I love my church. God is doing so many exciting things at Fellowship and even more great things are coming soon! Here are some statistics that God us using to stir our hearts:

The population of Little Rock and the surrounding cities/suburbs is: 877.091 people
The number of churches in the Greater Little Rock area is: 780 churches
The average church attendance is: 75 attendees

If you (generously) doubled the average attendance for churches in the Greater Little Rock area to 150 attendees, there would still be 760,000 people without a church home.

And here is why I love my church:
Our church has gotten serious about seeing a movement of discipleship in the Greater Little Rock area. There are groups forming all over the city in homes, on school campuses, and in offices. The focus on discipleship is opening even more opportunities to reach the Greater Little Rock area! I cannot wait to see what God does as we work to reach the 760,000!

For more on our mission and D-Group strategy, check out this video…
Making Disciples–Fellowship Bible Church

partner with parentsReggie Joiner said it best. What happens at home is more important than what happens at church. I’m a firm believer in finding ways to equip parents to disciple their children. But I’ve found that partnering with parents is different in preteen ministry than it is in children’s ministry.

In children’s ministry, it’s easy to see the influence a parent has over their child. A parent is able to almost complete control in the life of the child. Much like a coach instructs an athlete, the parent calls the plays and expects the child to execute them. I-formation 26-Fake X-Go—Fake the handoff to the fullback, Pass to the X receiver on the go route.

As children move into the preteen years, the parent becomes more like a cheerleader. Instead of calling the plays, they are shouting directions in the form of encouragement. Defense! Defense! Hold that line! Push ‘em back! Push ‘em back! Way on back!

Preteens experience a new level of independence. They begin to make decisions and plans for themselves, but they still desperately need the influence of a parent. How can we equip parents to disciple their preteens during this season?

I believe partnering with parents in preteen ministry is different because it needs to follow the 90/10 Principle.

What is the 90/10 Principle? Simply put, the parent must continue to engage their preteen to guide their spiritual growth (90%), but we must also encourage the preteen to turn to their parents for guidance (10%). Preteen ministry must equip parents as the disciple AND help preteens seen the value of their parents influence. This involves speaking highly of parents in front of their kids, deferring to parents on sensitive subjects, and developing relationships with parents just as much as the preteens in your ministry.

We’re experimenting with this idea in our preteen ministry. I’ve also seen some other ministries doing great things with the concept. Stay tuned this week for more details and ideas on how to use the 90/10 Principle in preteen ministry.

Abstract big speech bubbleWe recently started spending time each week thinking through the creative elements for our preteen ministry. (I really want to share more about that process later.) Our worship and planning had basically been an afterthought until now.  Our worship leader is very gifted, and he’s been like a spring rain for me in a dry creative time. After just a few meetings, I already feel like our preteen ministry has become more effective and definitely more creative.

Next week, we’re launching a series on prayer. One thing that came out in the creative planning was that we really wanted to create space for preteens to pray. As we’re talking about what prayer is and how Jesus taught us to pray, it’s important that preteens have space to practice.

Our series artwork has based on a collage of conversation bubbles. Our series point is that prayer is a communication between us and God. As we thought about how to make space for preteens to practice prayer, here are the ideas we’ve come up with:

  • Create a Prayer Time at the end of teaching time for Week 1.
  • During the Prayer Time, each preteen receives a personal size conversation bubble to write or draw their prayers.
  • The “conversation bubbles” will be collected in small group and used to create a large wall mural between Week 1 and Week 2. The “conversation bubbles” will be “collaged” together to form a large conversation bubble on the focal wall of our preteen space.
  • Week 2 will begin with a Prayer Time for preteens and Small Group Leaders. Personal size conversation bubbles will be available to record prayers. They can then be placed on the collage at the focal wall
  • All worship lyrics and Scripture slides will be presented in conversation bubbles on screen to illustrate that these elements are also part of the communication between us and God.

I’m really excited to see preteens using this space for prayer. We want prayer to become an integral part of our preteen ministry, so we plan to keep the theme of conversation bubbles going even after the series.

Here are my questions for you:

1) What is your process for planning the creative elements in your ministry?

2) How do you create space specifically for prayer with your preteens? If you’re a parent of preteens, what has helped them feel comfortable communicating with God through prayer?

Creating Balance in Life

February 4, 2013 — 1 Comment

do-you-balance-14-nails-single-nailhead-find-out-with-diy-gravity-puzzle.w654The picture above is all about balance. The objective of the riddle is to balance all the nails on the head of the one nail attached to the wood. It seems impossible, but it’s actually very easy with a little bit of balance.

A few weeks ago, a seminary professor used the riddle to illustrate the importance of balance in the life of a minister. This is something I’ve been thinking about and realizing that I need to work on.

Here are a few things that I’m thinking will help me to create balance:

1. Stop doing some things

When I look at my calendar, I realize that there are some ineffective things that take up my time. Many of them are tasks that were one time important and effective, but now they’re pointless tasks. I’ve also realized that these are the things that drain me the most. I need to evaluate my schedule and get rid of the things that are not effective uses of my time.

2. Keep a To Do List

I already have a weekly To Do List, but I’ve recently made some changes. I have broken the list into categories and subcategories. These breakdowns have helped me to keep focused on tasks and relationships in ministry and my personal life.

3. Delegate

I shared my thoughts about delegation a few weeks ago. I am still learning how to do this well. I’m learning not to just pass tasks to someone else, but to actually release the power to make decisions and carry out ministry plans. It’s a little scary, but also really exciting. Once I’ve gotten rid of the things that are ineffective and created a To Do List, it’s easier to decide what things can be delegated to others.

4. Leave the Office Early

This has been the hardest but most rewarding part of creating balance. I often get too focused on projects and forget to take care of my health. Two weeks ago, I left the office early each day to exercise before heading home. I really focused on what I ate and tried to get more sleep. Last week, I did the complete opposite! The week of exercise and sleep felt great. I know that it will be a necessary part of a balanced life.