Archives For leadership

Whether you’re in ministry 100 years or 1 year, it’s bound to happen. You get stopped in the hall, or you get a phone call to let you know that a volunteer is leaving your team. In that moment, your first thought is, “Who can I get to fill that spot and how quickly can I get them?” However, there are a couple other steps to consider before you plug a new person in.

1. Do an Exit Interview
It doesn’t matter why their leaving your team, those volunteers have valuable insight and a freedom to share it. As the volunteer is leaving the team, it is a great opportunity to ask them about their experiences—good and bad. They will most likely share honest impressions that can be greatly beneficial you as a leader. An exit interview also shows value to that volunteer by allowing them to give input and evaluation to the ministry team.

2. Evaluate the Rest of the Team
Is there someone already on the team that can do this job? If so, would it be a good move for the team? There have been several times that a small group leader has left the team and a replacement was right under my nose. There are substitutes and assistant leaders in your ministry that may be ready to take the plunge into a full time role. Before you put it in the bulletin or stand on stage to announce the opening, consider those that are already on your team.

3. Take the Opportunity to Fill In
If you are able to find a replacement for a departing volunteer before the following Sunday, let me know how you do it! Most times, the process takes a little while longer. In that waiting period, take the opportunity, if possible, to substitute for that position. I have found that putting myself “in the trenches” can really help me to better understand what my team members need.

4. Celebrate the Volunteer that is Leaving (and do it publicly)
I am guilty of not doing this one enough. When a volunteer leaves, we focus on replacement, not celebration. The few times that I have paused to celebrate the volunteer have been great experiences. Celebrating the volunteer shows them and the other volunteers that their service is invaluable. Praising and celebrating a volunteer in front of their peers, especially those that are leaving on a sour note, gives them a lasting memory that is positive and encouraging.

5. Prayerfully Seek the Person to Fill the Position
Ministry is a beast that must be fed. As you read this, you’re thinking, “This is all nice, but Sunday’s coming!” I know that feeling very well. You need someone to plug the hole, and you need them now. Let me encourage you to spend more time seeking God and who He has for the position than you do actually searching for that person. You can run out and find the first willing body that feels sorry for your predicament, but it’s much healthier for you and your team to find a replacement that has been called and ordained by God for that position.

A few days ago, I posted Talking to Preteens about Sex—Part 1, which included survey responses from our 6th graders. The results showed that, contrary to what some may say, preteens prefer to discuss the topic of sex with their parents.

Now what? Most parents are wondering how they’re supposed to approach the subject of sex with their preteen. Here are a few tips that can help parents initiate these conversations:

1. It’s a Marathon, not a sprint.
There is way too much information and way too many questions to cover in one conversation. Due to the awkwardness of the topic, many parents will try to pack as much information into the first conversation as possible. Instead, we need to create an ongoing conversation. This means frequent conversations that answer immediate questions asked by your preteen, but save additional information for later conversations. Research from Dr. Steven C. Martino actually suggests that the more [frequency over time] a parent talks with adolescents about sex, the healthier those adolescents will be and the longer they will wait to have sex. As Christian parents, our prayer is that they will understand and embrace the truth of God’s design for sex in marriage.

2. Break the Ice
Don’t wait for your preteen to start talking. They have questions, but it is unlikely that they will take the first step. Look for opportunities to initiate these conversations. It could be something seen on TV, something that happens at school, or something that is said by a sibling. Ask preteens what or how they feel, and try to listen for their questions or concerns. If those opportunities are not available, pick a time in your routine to have ongoing conversations., such as riding to school, getting ready for bed, etc.

3. Do Your Homework
#1 and #2 really address when and how to have conversations about sex with your preteen, but what do you say? It is a great idea to partner with other parents of preteens to find out what is working and not working. There are also great resources available that speak on this subject from a Christian perspective. These resources can be for you, or some can be given to your preteen as a catalyst for conversation. They can read and ask questions at the pace that is comfortable for them. But, you still have to initiate by buying the book! Here is a short list of resources to check out:

Passport 2 Purity Weekend Kit

Questions Kids Ask about Sex: Honest Answers for Every Age (More medical-based than faith-based)

Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality: A Biblical Approach to Preparing Them for Life

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity

Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle: Honest Conversations About Sexual Integrity

This homeschool product specifically reflects a Christian worldview. How to Talk Confidently with Your Child About Sex: Fifth Edition (Also comes as a series for boys or girls)      

We recently conducted a survey with 6th grade students to find out their thoughts on the subject of sex. The survey was not intrusive, but appropriately crafted to get their honest responses. The survey results were intriguing to say the least, but one point really stood out.

A question on the survey asked preteens to note the source for the knowledge they had about sex. Overwhelmingly, the majority selected with “Media” or “Peers/Siblings.”  Based on their answers, 70%-80% of what they knew about sex came from one of those two sources. The other 20%-30% came from “school.” Only a few responses noted “Parents” as a source for their information about sex.

While this was shocking, it was not the end of their responses. A later question on the survey asked, “Who would you prefer to talk with about sex?” This question was not multiple-choice, so preteens had to write in their response. 96% of the surveys responded with either “Mom” or “Dad.”

According to this survey taken by our students, preteens are learning about sex from what the see on television and Internet. That is being supplemented by the conversations they have with their peers.

The influence of these outside sources has left preteens with questions and a desire for answers. The truth is: preteens prefer to discuss the topic of sex with their parents. Many parents would not believe this response, even if they read the surveys! Preteens recognize the wisdom and experience of their parents, and they are willing to listen.

Preteens are learning about sex. If parents are the ones owning that conversation, who is? If you are a parent or leader of preteens, how are you talking to preteens about sex?

Stay tuned this week for some tips on talking with preteens about sex.

 A few weeks back, I made a decision to put the blog on the back burner to focus on some other projects and to try and spend more time with my family. I told myself that I would wait until March 1 to post again…and it’s been a long hard wait! I’ve enjoyed the break and all that has happened. But to be honest, it’s been tough not writing and sharing everything that’s going on.

Here is an overview of the things that I’ll be sharing about in the next couple of days:

  • Preteen Leader’s Conference: I’m really excited about heading to California to meet with other preteen leaders for this event. Plus, I’ll be leading a couple of breakouts at the conference.
  • Breakout Topics: I will be previewing the breakout sessions on the blog and asking for feedback from you. This will help me focus on what will be the most help for other preteen leaders.
  • New Preteen Ministry: Much of my focus during the 2 month hiatus was on the future of 5th and 6th grade ministries at Fellowship Bible Church. I’m looking forward to showing our curriculum design, room design, and awesome new identity w/ logo. I’m excited about the plan God has laid on our hearts for our church and our satellite campuses.
  • Lots more!