The Wake Up Call
IT’S TIME TO WAKE UP!
EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED!!! And whether you like it or not, nothing is going back to the way it was. The truth is, the older we get, the harder it is to change. But, regardless of your personal preferences you can’t opt out of change. If you are going to live in this world, you’re going to have to change. Why? Because cultures change, communities change, and we change. As ambassadors for Christ, we have to stop fighting for what was, stand up, and finally be the progressive children’s ministry leaders he has called us to be.
The time for action is NOW! Church attendance is dropping precipitously. Mental health illnesses are rising amongst children no less. Cyber bullying, sex trafficking, school shootings, and online predators are far too prevalent to be ignored. What’s worse, all manner of unsound doctrine and countercultural philosophies are enchanting the hearts and minds of our children. In short, their views of authority, morality, and God are all under attack. What does this mean for us as children’s ministry leaders? THIS MEANS WAR!
Children’s ministry leaders must break free from the chains of people pleasing and be willing to be unorthodox rule breakers! That’s right! I said it! It takes leaders who are willing to break free from the status quo to bring about real change. It’s time for leaders to get comfortable with being controversial for the sake of reaching a generation for him. We must wake up and move from likership to leadership. Real leadership is movement forwards, not backwards. So how can we move forward?
Get serious about investing in personal growth: Don’t get so busy leading that you don’t take out the time to learn. So many of us as children’s ministry leaders are guilty of this. Stop putting your growth and development on the back burner. Know this, you can’t fake knowledge! You either know it or you don’t. You cannot produce what you are not! You can’t address the relevant issues of the day that you know nothing about nor train others appropriately to do so. It’s time to wake up and leave the excuses at the door. Not investing in your personal growth as a leader will ultimately hurt you and your department.
Resist the urge of People Pleasing: Just incase you haven’t discovered this truth yet…EVERYONE IS NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU! NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO!!! Don’t walk a tightrope in ministry trying to avoid complaints. People will always complain when you take them out of their comfort zone. You must stretch them nonetheless for the sake of a generation. The primary role of the prophets was to deliver people who didn’t always like them. It was their job to point others to truth albeit uncomfortable for the purposes of advancing God’s kingdom. Do you know what happened to the prophets who were people pleasers. They got eaten by lions! Now, of course the chances of you being eaten by a lion today because of people pleasing is slim to none but the messaging is clear. Paul put it this way. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) My point is, people pleasing will lead you down a road you don’t want to go. Trust me! Don’t take that road.
Overthrow dead systems, not people: You have to get rid of dead systems. Because things change, systems and procedures must change. With that said, it is imperative that you care about people. No matter how dead a system may be today, the reality is, at one time it did work. Practice honoring the creator of those systems in the midst of change. Throwing a grenade at your department, changing everything, and declaring those who came before you as out of touch is simply bad leadership. Listen. In children’s ministry, you need people. Besides. Honoring people the right way today will create experienced and trusted allies who will help push your cause in the future.
Move from managing people to leading people: Often times in children’s ministry, we become so obsessed with managing that we neglect to lead. Real leaders create other leaders. Stop calling the volunteers in your ministry leaders. If you are not investing in their development through training and equipping then you don’t have leaders, you have glorified helpers. It’s time to shift your glorified helper base to empowered leaders. Glorified helpers quit! When the storm of transition hits, it’s empowered leaders who remain with you to rebuild. When countercultural philosophies threaten the truth of God’s word in the hearts and minds of children, glorified helpers shrug their shoulders and wait to see what you’re going to do about it. Empowered leaders roll up their sleeves and fight with you! WAKE UP!
Get back to loving life & loving ministry: There is a spirit of weariness in children’s ministry like I’ve never seen before. As ministers, we have got to get back to falling in love with what we do again. This generation sees right through plastic veneers and let me tell you something…it is off putting. They crave authenticity. I don’t care how talented you’ve become at putting on “the face” in ministry. Personality does not trump performance and your performance will be hindered if you do not love what you do. Leaders should also be regularly practicing self-care in their personal lives in such a way that promotes wholeness and brings about authentic contentment in one’s life. If you struggle with this, join us for a special live conversation happening this Tuesday February 15th @ 7:00pm CST in the private Children’s Ministry Moving Forward Facebook group. If you’re not a member, I invite you to join today.
In a post-modern culture, if we are truly going to effectively reach children and families for Christ, then it is imperative that we level-up in the way we lead. In what ways do you need to move beyond the status quo and level-up in your leadership. The rooster is crowing. It’s time to WAKE UP!