Thursday, December 10, 2009

Plan Man...

General Dwight David Eisenhower knew a thing or two about what it takes to win. Back in the fourth grade I did a huge report on his life. I still remember how much I learned about him, all these years later. Out of all the stuff that I took in during that project I still think about a certain quote that he is famous for. He once said “Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” Wow. This is certainly true in ministry.

When I started in my younger years I had all of these huge plans about how things were going to be. Nothing could get in my way. I was determined that I would just barrel through all the madness and get it done. To some extent, this worked. But when you put your head down and drive it into problem after problem you are going to get a headache or two... or in my case, more. Cobb watched me and knew how much I could take. He helped correct me when I needed it most and let me learn the lessons that I needed and made sure that I did not kick myself out of ministry for the long haul.

We spent so much time in planning meetings. When we were getting ready for each season of the year it was time to plan. When we did big events we planned. When we did smaller or follow-up events we planned. Sometimes it seemed that we spent more time planning than we did for the actual events or activities themselves. It got to the point that we often wanted to just go home and hope that everything would work out for the best. But we had seen where that had gotten us in the past and knew that the dilegence would pay off. It was about making the sacrifices when they needed to be done to get the good results that we wanted.

So next time you are feeling tired and weary, to the point where your eye lids are heavy and you want to skip the planning meeting... don't. Just get it done and you will save yourself time on the back end of stuff and be happy with the results you get. And you will not really know when you did not plan well enough until it happens and you look back and think, “yeah, that wasn't the best way to prepare.” be a professional and get stuff done. Your ministry will grow tons.

Friday, December 4, 2009

If you build it...

Field of Dreams, I love that movie. I still cry at the end. Kevin Costner builds the coolest home baseball field in his backyard in the middle of a corn field. When he does this all the old dead baseball greats come to play ball. It's every boy's dream. Don't you wish ministry worked this way; you know, you build a team of volunteers, you get a piece of the church building to use and then all of the sudden, tons of kids come from out of nowhere and give you this dope huge ministry??? I know, that would be awesome!

We have to bring ministry out to the students in our community. They want direction. They are a spiritual generation. But they aren't gonna come to your group just 'cause you think that you have the best one around... and maybe it is the best group. I don't care if you have great music, games, groups, food or speaking; if you do not go to them then you are going to miss a lot of opportunity. They want to know what it is that you think is so important. They hear from their friends at school all the time about how fun youth group is and that they should come check it out. But they will not if you do not first reach out to them. Some will come, a majority will wait.

A couple of items to consider. First you need to know what you believe. Are you the evangelism person or do you prefer a smaller group? Peter had it right when he said that you need to always be ready to let peeps know why you believe. And even further than that you have to do it in a way that is not going to drive them away from wanted to be sensitive to the calling of God. Now, whether this is easy or difficult to you it must be done. When you know what your passions and goals are then you will be able to take the Gospel to the community and peeps will want to be a part of your group.

Do you go to extracurricular activities that your students are involved in? Do you go to school activities, eat lunch with them at school, dinner with their families, visit other church groups, go to seminars and conferences, etc. I hope you do. Have a plan. If you use your time wisely then you will be able to calendar these times in. they are important. Model the ministry you would like to see your staff and students do. Value your ministry and take pride in your time and work, and your ministry and its success will follow.